The top leaders of the European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on Tuesday (10) pledged to strengthen support for Ukraine and deepen their cooperation. For years, both have aimed to deepen their relationship, despite fears that an enhanced European role in defense could undermine the U.S.-led military alliance.
“We should continue to strengthen our partnership between NATO and the EU. And we should further strengthen our support for Ukraine,” Jens Stoltenberg, secretary-general of the military alliance, told a joint press conference.
The president of the European Commission (the EU’s executive arm), Ursula von der Leyen, expressed her belief that “Ukraine must obtain all the military equipment it can manage to defend the homeland.”
“That means, of course, advanced air defense systems, but also other types of advanced military equipment, as long as it is necessary to defend Ukraine,” she added.
Since the beginning of Russia’s offensive against Ukraine, EU and NATO countries have sent billions of dollars in equipment and weapons to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, enabling them to cope with the war.
The United States, Germany and France have announced their willingness to also provide armored vehicles, but the Ukrainian government is now asking for modern heavy tanks.
In this regard, Stoltenberg anticipated that representatives of the bloc will have a meeting with Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov next week to discuss “exactly what kinds of weapons are needed and how the allies can provide them.”
Stoltenberg added, however, that “it’s not just about adding more systems, more platforms, more weapons, but also about making sure that the platforms and weapons we already provide work as they should.”
The war in Ukraine has prompted the EU and NATO to push for greater cooperation between the two institutions. As a consequence of this conflict, two other countries in the European bloc – Sweden and Finland – have begun the process of joining the transatlantic alliance.
Today, 21 of the 27 EU countries are also members of the Atlantic Alliance.
In a joint statement, the two organizations stressed that NATO remains the central pillar of European security, brushing aside the EU’s attempts to increase its defense autonomy.
“Our statement makes clear that NATO remains the basis of collective defense and remains essential for Euro-Atlantic security,” Stoltenberg added.
Este artigo está disponível em: Português