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3 Apr, 2024 11:45

NATO seeking to insulate Kiev from Trump pressure – media

The military bloc is reportedly debating ways to institutionalize the arming of Ukraine against Russia
NATO seeking to insulate Kiev from Trump pressure – media

NATO leaders are devising ways to limit Donald Trump’s potential leverage over Ukraine by ensuring the continued supply of arms to Kiev does not depend on Washington, according to Western media reports. Trump has suggested he would reassess aid to Ukraine, should he be reelected to the White House later this year.

The plans are set to be discussed at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels this week, sources have told news outlets including Politico, the Financial Times, and Euractiv.

Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for the November US presential election, has claimed on his campaign trail that he could end the Ukraine conflict in 24 hours by making phone calls to Kiev and Moscow.

He has declined to explain the specifics of his scheme, but presumably intends to pressure both sides of the hostilities to force a compromise. Ukraine has declared a full military victory as the only acceptable outcome, but its army is heavily dependent on Western aid.

One of the proposed shifts in assistance to Kiev would affect the so-called Ukraine Defense Contact Group, which holds monthly meetings at the US Ramstein Air Base in Germany to coordinate weapons deliveries to Ukraine. It is currently led by Washington and includes non-NATO states that follow the US lead in the conflict. The idea is to formally incorporate the group into NATO structures, according to the reports.

“There’s a feeling among, not the whole group but a part of the NATO group, that thinks it is better to institutionalize the process just in case of a Trump reelection,” Jim Townsend, a former Pentagon and NATO official, told Politico.

Outgoing NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has reportedly suggested the creation of a fund to pay for arms supplies over the next five years. Dubbed Mission for Ukraine, the war chest would amount to up to $100 billion or €100 billion ($108 billion), conflicting reports have said.

In addition to “Trump-proofing” and entrenching arms deliveries, giving NATO a formal role would supposedly allow it to push Ukraine into implementing reforms required for its eventual accession to the bloc, according to justifications cited by Euractiv.

Moscow considers the Ukraine conflict to be part of a US-led proxy war against Russia, in which Kiev and NATO serve as tools of American hegemony. The US-led bloc’s expansion in Europe and its intention to absorb Ukraine were among the key triggers of the hostilities, according to the Russian leadership.

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