Nato and its allies have made new pledges to provide Ukraine with humanitarian aid and weapons as Europe adjusts to what Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg calls “a new security reality”.
Leaders from the EU, Nato and the G7 group of developed nations all met in Brussels on March 24 for the first time in history. The leaders discussed their response to Russia’s ongoing war with Ukraine.
In a video address to the assembled leaders, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on the allies to increase sanctions on Russia and provide Ukraine with more weapons.
“You have thousands of fighter jets! But we haven’t been given any yet,” Zelenskiy said to the leaders of Nato. “You have at least 20,000 tanks! Ukraine asked for one percent – one percent – of your tanks to be given or sold to us. But we do not have a clear answer yet.”
Zelenskiy also urged world leaders to send his army anti-missile defence systems and to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, which Nato’s leaders have ruled out.
However, the leaders did answer calls for more lethal aid to Ukraine with new pledges. Germany will send Ukraine 2,000 more anti-tank weapons, while the EU signed off $550mn more military aid to Ukraine on Wednesday, doubling its previous contribution.
Nato, meanwhile, has agreed to strengthen Ukrainian cyber-defences and help Ukrainians defend themselves against “biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear threats”.
Humanitarian efforts are also being intensified. The US has agreed to take 100,000 Ukrainian refugees. The White House has committed $1bn to humanitarian aid in Ukraine.
Nato has also agreed to deploy more troops to Eastern European countries in response to the invasion. 40,000 troops will be sent to Nato’s eastern flank, comprising four battlegroups, located in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia.
Nato’s Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, has extended his time in the role by a year as a consequence of the crisis.
Stoltenberg said at the summit that Putin has "made a big mistake, and that is to launch a war against an independent sovereign nation." He added that Putin “has underestimated the strength of the Ukrainian people, the bravery of the Ukrainian people and their armed forces."