NATO should finalize security guarantee for Ukraine by July, UK PM Sunak says

20 February, 11:25 AM
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at the Munich Security Conference (Photo:Ben Stansall / Pool via REUTERS)

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at the Munich Security Conference (Photo:Ben Stansall / Pool via REUTERS)

NATO allies should finalize a security guarantee for Ukraine when the alliance’s leaders meet at a summit in July, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told Bloomberg Television on Feb. 18.

Sunak endorsed the idea of Ukraine eventually joining NATO but insisted there must also be a plan to underwrite the country’s security before then.

“We need to think about the future of how we protect Ukraine’s security,” he said.

“That’s a conversation that we should start having, because the Vilnius summit is a good place to conclude.”

Video of day

NATO leaders will meet in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, on July 11-12.

Earlier, during a briefing with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Polish President Andrzej Duda in the Ukrainian western city of Lviv on Jan. 11, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda said Ukraine could receive security guarantees at the next NATO summit.

At the same time, according to the official, Ukraine’s membership in NATO cannot be taken off the agenda.

Security guarantees for Ukraine: what is known

The idea of security guarantees for Ukraine was first voiced during the Russian-Ukrainian talks in Istanbul, Turkey, in late March last year. The Ukrainian side then offered an option under which Ukraine would receive security guarantees in exchange for refusing to join NATO, which Russia uses to justify its war of aggression.

Ukraine’s proposal provided for immediate military assistance from UN Security Council member states in the event of armed aggression against, including closing Ukrainian airspace – something Ukraine’s partners have refused to do, as they view such a move as direct participation in the war.

In the end, however, Russia did not agree to negotiations, but continued its efforts to occupy Ukraine, while Ukraine’s partners increased military support to Kyiv and began to discuss what security guarantees could be made for Ukraine — seemingly abandoning the idea of providing Ukraine guarantees outside the transatlantic alliance.

On Sept. 13, 2022, the Office of the President of Ukraine presented recommendations on security guarantees for Ukraine, developed on Zelenskyy’s orders.

The recommendations, called the Kyiv Security Compact, were developed by an expert group led by presidential chief-of-staff Andriy Yermak and the 12th Secretary General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

In particular, the recommendations provide for the resources to maintain a significant defensive force capable of withstanding Russia’s armed forces and paramilitaries, investment in Ukraine’s military-industrial base, scalable weapons transfers and intelligence support from allies, intensive training missions and joint exercises under the European Union and NATO flags, as well as preventive measures of a military, financial, infrastructural, technical, and informational nature to prevent new aggression.

According to the document, a core group of partner countries involved in these guarantees could include the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Poland, Italy, Germany, France, Australia, Turkey, and Nordic, Baltic, and Central European countries.

Yermak emphasized that the agreement on security guarantees for Ukraine is not a substitute for joining NATO — it is a means of ensuring security until this accession takes place.

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