NATO to Coordinate Military Aid for Ukraine Amid U.S. Political Uncertainty

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NATO to Coordinate Military Aid for Ukraine Amid U.S. Political Uncertainty

NATO will take over the coordination of arms supplies to Ukraine, a role previously held by the U.S., to ensure continued support as former President Donald Trump bids for re-election.

NATO announced on Friday that it will assume a greater role in coordinating military aid to Ukraine, a move seen as a precaution against potential disruptions if former U.S. President Donald Trump, who is skeptical of NATO, wins a second term. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg emphasized that these efforts do not make NATO a party to the conflict but aim to enhance support for Ukraine’s right to self-defense.

During a visit to Budapest, Stoltenberg revealed that Hungary has dropped its resistance to the Ukraine support package, which NATO plans to finalize at its Washington summit in July. This package includes financial pledges and the transfer of coordination for arms supplies and training to NATO. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, while agreeing not to block NATO’s support for Ukraine, reiterated that his country would not participate directly, maintaining his stance of fostering close ties with Russia and refusing to send arms to Ukraine.

The U.S. initiated the coordination of arms supplies through the Ramstein air base in Germany, forming a group of approximately 50 nations that regularly meet to address Ukraine’s military needs. This group, known as the Ramstein group, will continue as a U.S.-led political forum, while NATO will handle the military logistics of arms deliveries and training for Ukrainian troops.

This strategic shift is intended to “Trump-proof” the aid mechanism, providing NATO with a more direct role in supporting Ukraine while avoiding direct military involvement. However, diplomats acknowledge that the U.S. remains the dominant power within NATO, supplying the majority of weaponry to Ukraine. Thus, any significant change in U.S. policy could still impact Western aid to Kyiv.

Putin’s Demands for Ending War Rejected by Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s demands for ending the war in Ukraine, including territorial concessions and NATO renunciation, were swiftly rejected by Kyiv as unacceptable.

President Vladimir Putin declared on Friday that Russia would end its military operations in Ukraine only if Kyiv abandoned its NATO ambitions and ceded control of four provinces claimed by Moscow. Putin’s conditions, which include Ukraine’s demilitarization and the lifting of Western sanctions, were deemed tantamount to surrender by Ukrainian officials.

Putin’s demands came ahead of a “peace conference” in Switzerland, which Russia is not attending. Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak dismissed Putin’s terms, stating that there was “no possibility to find compromise” based on the proposals. Putin reiterated his stance that Ukraine must withdraw its troops from Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions, and officially renounce its plans to join NATO.

Russia’s annexation of these regions in 2022, along with the seizure of Crimea in 2014, has been widely condemned as illegal by the international community. Putin asserted that an immediate ceasefire and negotiations would follow if Kyiv complied with his demands.

The upcoming summit in Switzerland, which will be attended by representatives from over 90 nations and organizations, is expected to focus on non-territorial issues such as food security and nuclear safety in Ukraine. The Kremlin criticized the summit as futile without Russian participation.

Putin’s maximalist conditions reflect a growing confidence in Moscow’s ability to dictate terms, with Russian forces gradually advancing in recent months. He warned that Ukraine’s military situation would worsen if his proposals were rejected and insisted that peace required Ukraine’s adoption of a neutral, non-aligned status, along with demilitarization and denazification.

Ukraine and its Western allies have consistently rejected these demands, viewing them as a pretext for territorial conquest. They maintain that peace can only be achieved through the full withdrawal of Russian forces and the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

U.S. President Joe Biden reaffirmed the West’s commitment to supporting Ukraine, stating, “You cannot wait us out. You cannot divide us.” This statement followed new sanctions against Russia, a 10-year security pact with Ukraine, and a G7 agreement to use interest on frozen Russian assets to support a $50 billion loan to Kyiv.