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Nato urges to ensure Ukraine arms flow

Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg (C) opens a round table during the North Atlantic Council (NAC) Ministers of Foreign Affairs, in Brussels. — AFP
Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg (C) opens a round table during the North Atlantic Council (NAC) Ministers of Foreign Affairs, in Brussels. — AFP

BRUSSELS: Nato foreign ministers on Wednesday debated the creation of a 100-billion-euro, five-year fund for Ukraine, as the alliance's chief urged them to guarantee long-term arms supplies for Kyiv's outgunned forces.

"Ukraine has urgent needs," Jens Stoltenberg said as the ministers met in Brussels. "Any delay in providing support has consequences on the battlefield as we speak. So we need to shift the dynamics of our support."

"We must ensure reliable and predictable security assistance to Ukraine for the long haul so that we rely less on the voluntary contributions and more on Nato commitments, less on short-term offers and more on multi-year pledges," he said.

Officials said Nato's secretary general has proposed creating a 100-billion-euro fund to help arm Ukraine in its fight with Russia over five years.

That could help insulate the flow of weaponry to Ukraine following a potential return of Donald Trump to the White House after US elections in November.

"Moscow needs to understand that they cannot achieve their goals on the battlefield and they cannot wait us out," Stoltenberg said, without giving details of his proposal.

The plan has support from Ukraine's staunchest supporters such as Poland and the Baltic states.

But others caution there are many questions on where financing would come from and the plan could change dramatically by the time Nato holds its next summit in Washington in July.

The plan from Stoltenberg would also see a Nato mission take more control of coordinating arms supplies to Kyiv from a US-led grouping that currently helps oversee support.

Stoltenberg's pitch comes as Ukraine's forces are struggling to hold back Russia in the face of dwindling supplies from Kyiv's Western backers.

A $60-billion US funding package is currently stalled in Congress but there are hopes lawmakers could move to pass it in the coming weeks.

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba arrived in Brussels more focused on the short-term need for air defence in the face of a surge in Russian missile bombardments.

"Ukraine is currently the only country in the world that defends itself against ballistic missile attacks almost everyday," he wrote on the X social media platform after meeting his Polish counterpart.

"This means that all Patriot batteries available around the world that can be provided to Ukraine must be delivered to Ukraine as soon as possible. There is no more important place for them."

The meeting in Brussels comes as Nato readies to mark its 75-year anniversary since it was founded in the wake of World War II. — AFP

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