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Outgoing NATO Chief Mobilizes Support for Ukraine Amid Leadership Transition

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is seeking global support for Ukraine in its ongoing conflict with Russia before he departs from the post later this year after serving for a decade.

Stoltenberg is urging the 32 NATO member countries to back a significant initiative. 

The plan is to establish a five-year, 100 billion euro fund for Ukraine and hand over control of the U.S.-led Ramstein group, which coordinates weapons deliveries to Kyiv, to NATO.

Credits: DepositPhotos

The relocation indicates a move towards greater European independence in security matters, prompted by apprehensions about the United States’ dependability as a potential ally. 

Jim Townsend, an ex-high-ranking Pentagon official with expertise in NATO affairs, regards this action as Europe’s reaction to uncertainties concerning America’s obligations, going beyond political differences.

Stoltenberg aims to achieve agreement among NATO members and plans to announce the alliance’s annual summit in July, which coincides with its 75th anniversary. 

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Credits: DepositPhotos

It is worth noting that this summit is expected to be Stoltenberg’s last as secretary-general, with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte likely to succeed him.

The upcoming summit is important, especially given the public tensions during the 2023 NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has previously expressed disappointment at the lack of a clear proposal from the United States and other member nations for Ukraine’s NATO membership.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken has reiterated NATO’s commitment to supporting Ukraine’s desire for membership despite opposition from crucial NATO members such as the United States and Germany.

Although there is a desire for Ukraine to join NATO, there are challenges within the organization itself. 

Hungary and Slovakia have emerged as significant obstacles, and Spain and Italy have raised concerns about the plan’s financial implications.

Credits: DepositPhotos

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The Biden administration cites the efficacy of U.S. leadership within the coalition as a reason for expressing reservations about transferring the leadership of the Ramstein group to NATO.

Stoltenberg is unwavering in his support for Ukraine, using his reputation as a unifying force within NATO to build a consensus in preparation for the upcoming July summit.

During his time in office, Stoltenberg had to deal with several challenges, such as strained relations with former President Trump and criticisms from French President Macron. 

Credits: DepositPhotos

Stoltenberg’s diplomatic efforts, particularly in Washington, have highlighted the strategic importance of NATO and helped to promote solidarity among its member countries.

As Stoltenberg’s term nears its end, his unwavering support for Ukraine shows that the alliance remains committed to addressing evolving security threats in the Euro-Atlantic region.

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