The G7 powers pledged on Wednesday to provide long-term military support to Ukraine, a decision hailed by President Volodymyr Zelensky, for whom this cannot, however, replace his country’s future membership in the Atlantic Alliance.
On the second day of the NATO summit in Vilnius and almost 18 months after the start of the Russian invasion, the members of the G7 — United States, United Kingdom, France, Canada, Germany, Italy and Japan — presented a plan for Ukraine’s security.
This is to help it deal with the current Russian offensive and to deter Russia from any “future armed attack” against its neighbour.
This announcement, which angered Moscow, was described as “an important victory for Ukraine’s security” by Volodymyr Zelensky.
After sharply reproaching the leaders of the Alliance on Tuesday for not having set a timetable for the integration of his country into this organization, the Ukrainian leader took care to smooth things over on the last day of the summit.
Throughout the day, he multiplied the messages of thanks for the “enormous help” received by Ukraine.
” Thank you so much. All of you Americans, Congress […] You have been with us since the early days of this war. We are very sensitive to it, ”he said during a one-on-one with his American counterpart, Joe Biden.
The Ukrainian head of state was also questioned about the remarks of the British Minister of Defense, Ben Wallace, who stressed that his country was “not Amazon” when it comes to supplying weapons to Ukraine , hinting that Kiev could show more “gratitude”.
“We have always been grateful to the United Kingdom,” he replied, before wondering with a smile what the minister had meant.
“We will not flinch! launched Joe Biden in a speech at Vilnius University, pointing out that Russian President Vladimir Putin had failed in his attempt to “break up” the Atlantic Alliance.
“The future of Ukraine is in NATO,” he assured a little earlier. But, in the meantime, “we will help [les Ukrainiens] to build strong defensive capabilities on land, at sea and in the air”, he said, before praising the courage of this country, an example “for the whole world”.
The G7 declaration provides a framework for the subsequent conclusion of bilateral agreements between its member states and Kyiv detailing the weapons they will supply.
Eight other countries have joined this initiative, according to Madrid: Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Poland and the Czech Republic.
“We must ensure that when the war ends there will be credible mechanisms in place for Ukraine’s security so that history does not repeat itself,” said the NATO Secretary General. , Jens Stoltenberg, before the first meeting of the “Ukraine-NATO Council” with Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Today we meet as equals and I look forward to the day when we meet as allies,” continued the Norwegian, who has just been reappointed for a year at the head of this organization.
The day before, on the first day of the summit, the leaders had pledged to shorten the process kyiv would have to follow to join NATO. “We will be able to extend an invitation to Ukraine to join the Alliance when the allies decide and the conditions are met,” the final statement said.
For Volodymyr Zelensky, these conditions are “linked to security”: “we understand that Ukraine cannot become a member as long as the war continues”. He said he was “confident” about membership “after the war”.
But for the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, these conditions, “provided for in NATO rules and known to all”, relate in particular to questions of “democracy and the rule of law”.
The final communiqué of the Vilnius summit does not go much further than the commitment formulated in 2008 regarding the future integration of Ukraine. The United States, which is the first military power, is worried about being drawn into a possible nuclear conflict with Russia.
Western donors have already sent weapons worth tens of billions of euros to Ukraine to help it fight against the Russian army.
On Tuesday, Germany said it would provide more tanks, Patriot defense missiles and armored vehicles, worth an additional 700 million euros.
France has announced the dispatch of long-range Scalp missiles to Ukraine and an 11-nation coalition has said it will begin training Ukrainian pilots on F-16 jets from next month.