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14 May, 2024 17:43

Ukraine demands part of NATO states’ GDP

Kiev also wants unrestricted weapons deliveries and frozen Russian assets
Ukraine demands part of NATO states’ GDP

Ukraine wants unrestricted access to Western weapons, even more aid, and all frozen Russian funds, President Vladimir Zelensky’s chief of staff Andrey Yermak revealed on Tuesday.

At the Copenhagen Democracy Summit, organized by the pro-Ukrainian NGO Alliance of Democracies, Yermak announced a report authored by the group he co-chairs with the NGO head and former NATO secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. 

The ‘International Working Group on Security Issues and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine’ includes former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, former Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, retired US Army General Wesley Clark, and former US special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker, among others.

“It is important that allies spend 0.25% of their GDP on military aid to Ukraine and unlock $300 billion in frozen Russian assets to support our country,” Yermak said in a Telegram post summarizing the report. 

According to Russian estimates, the US and its allies have provided over $200 billion worth of military aid to Kiev. While some EU countries have already contributed more than 0.25% of their GDP to arm Ukraine, Latvia last month pledged to do so annually for the next three years.

Another recommendation from the report, which Rasmussen presented at the Copenhagen event, was to lift “all restrictions on the supply of conventional weapons” to Kiev. Yermak chimed in to argue that there also should be no restrictions on the use of these weapons. 

Rasmussen and Yermak also called on NATO to invite Ukraine to its Washington summit this summer and set “a clear timeline” for Kiev’s membership, which they said should be “no later than July 2028, subject to the fulfillment of specific conditions.”

A NATO invitation to Ukraine would “become motivation and support for our military and all [our] citizens,” Yermak explained on Telegram.

Ukraine’s membership in NATO is a red line for Russia and preventing it is one of the reasons Moscow gave for launching its military operation in February 2022.

Zelensky expected a formal invitation to the bloc at last year’s NATO summit in Vilnius and launched a tirade on social media when it did not arrive. The US-led bloc eventually said it would be in a position to invite Ukraine “when allies agree and conditions are met.”

Ukraine has long demanded access to Russian assets frozen by the US and its allies at the start of hostilities in 2022. While Washington has favored their outright confiscation, the EU – which holds about 80% of the impacted sovereign funds – has been more hesitant, as any Russian retaliation would impact the bloc’s main clearinghouse and the euro in general. Moscow has said it would respond to the “theft” of its assets with equal measure, targeting the property of the offending countries under its jurisdiction.