NATO’s Response to Trump Uncertainty: A Multi-Year Aid Plan for Ukraine

In response to the looming uncertainty of a potential Trump return to the White House, NATO foreign ministers are set to discuss a long-term military aid package for Ukraine, proposed by Alliance leader Jens Stoltenberg, at their upcoming meeting

by Sededin Dedovic
NATO’s Response to Trump Uncertainty: A Multi-Year Aid Plan for Ukraine
© Chris McGrath / Getty Images

NATO foreign ministers will discuss a military aid package for Ukraine on Friday, proposed by Alliance leader Jens Stoltenberg, which is expected to be agreed upon at the summit in Washington in July, Reuters reports. With uncertainty surrounding future U.S.

aid to Ukraine due to the possible return of former President Donald Trump to the White House, Stoltenberg has proposed placing military aid to Kyiv on a long-term basis, along with multi-year financial guarantees. However, the 32 NATO member states have differing views on the plan, and the ministers will attempt to reconcile these differences at their meeting in the Czech capital, Prague, on Thursday and Friday.

Reuters, citing diplomats and leaders, outlines the key elements of NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg's plan and the issues that need to be resolved before the Washington summit from July 9 to 11.

### NATO Coordination

Stoltenberg has proposed that the Alliance take over the coordination of international military aid to Ukraine, giving NATO a more direct role in the war against the Russian invasion, without involving its own forces.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg© WPA Pool / Getty Images

This would mean NATO would take over the coordination of donations and arms supplies from the Ukraine Defense Contact Group led by the U.S., an ad-hoc coalition of about 50 countries also known as the Ramstein Group, named after the U.S.

air base in Germany where it first met. The Alliance would also coordinate the training of Ukrainian forces, an activity heavily involved with the European Union and the United Kingdom. This move is widely seen as an attempt to ensure some degree of "Trump-proofing" by placing coordination under the NATO umbrella and giving the Alliance's military personnel more autonomy to continue their work with less direct political interference.

However, diplomats acknowledge that such a move would have limited effect, given that the U.S. is the dominant force in NATO and provides most of the weapons to Ukraine. Therefore, if Washington wanted to cut Western aid to Kyiv, it could still do so.

NATO will also have to overcome the resistance of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has made it clear that his country will not participate in the new efforts, arguing that it brings the Alliance closer to a catastrophic war with Russia.

Other NATO and EU members have expressed frustration with Hungary's persistent blocking of aid to Ukraine, which they say aligns with Russia's interests. Even the name of NATO's future actions is contentious. Germany opposes calling it a "mission" out of fear of giving the impression that NATO is entering into a war with Russia.

The Alliance will also have to address Ukraine's concerns that placing coordination under NATO might scare off countries outside the Alliance that do not want to be associated with it.

### Financial Pledge

Stoltenberg has proposed that allies make a large multi-year financial commitment to military aid for Ukraine, so the country can better plan and send a signal to both Kyiv and Moscow that the West remains committed to this effort for the long term.

Officials have floated a figure of 100 billion euros over the next five years, although Stoltenberg has not publicly mentioned a figure. This part of the plan has met resistance and skepticism among some allies who argue that countries cannot allocate such specific amounts years in advance, especially when future elections could change policy toward Ukraine.

Other details remain unclear, such as how the total amount and each country's contributions would be calculated.

### Membership Aspirations

At last year's NATO summit in Vilnius, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shocked Alliance leaders with an angry outburst on social media when it became clear his country would not receive an official invitation to join the Alliance.

The official NATO line is that Ukraine will one day join the Alliance, but not while the country is at war. "The future of Ukraine is in NATO," NATO leaders declared at the Vilnius summit. Since then, more allies have made bilateral agreements to provide weapons and other support to Kyiv to bridge the gap until it becomes a NATO member, thus falling under the Article 5 collective defense clause of 'all for one, one for all.'

But Ukraine and some of its Eastern European supporters within NATO continue to push for an invitation or at least a clearer path to membership. NATO officials are considering whether to come up with a new formulation for an invitation in Washington.

While Eastern Europeans are advocating for Ukraine's rapid accession, the U.S. and Germany lead the more cautious camp. Stoltenberg's proposal to formalize and extend military support to Ukraine represents a significant strategic shift for NATO.

This approach reflects an understanding that the conflict with Russia could be prolonged and that sustaining Ukrainian resistance is crucial not just for Ukraine's sovereignty but for the stability of Europe and the credibility of NATO itself.

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