Ukraine's new security approach: Beyond NATO
Throughout the week, Kyiv welcomed notable guests, from the U.S. Secretary of Defense to the head of the European Council...
By observing these visits and the information circulating, the focus of the current talks among Ukraine, the EU, and the G7 becomes clear: the objective is to implement the agreements from the Vilnius summit, ensuring "top-tier security for Ukraine without NATO membership."
According to Bloomberg, EU leaders are set to green flag the specifics of a security pact with Kyiv as early as next month. This document will serve as the foundation for G7 discussions with Kyiv, with some of its key allies aiming to finalize bilateral agreements this year.
The security program encompasses various aspects:
- Establishing a long-term mechanism for supplying military equipment to Ukraine.
- Training the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
- Enhancing collaboration with the Ukrainian defense industry to boost capacity, including constructing facilities for producing weapons and ammunition in line with NATO standards.
- Strengthening Ukraine's resilience against cyber threats, hybrid tactics, and disinformation.
- Providing assistance in demining and clearing areas of explosive remnants.
- Supporting the reform agenda related to EU accession, along with reinforcing the capacity to monitor firearms, light weapons, and ammunition stocks and counter illicit trade.
- Backing the country's energy transition and nuclear safety measures.
- Facilitating the exchange of intelligence and satellite images.
Setting aside the desire for NATO's Article 5 umbrella, Ukraine's security model proves intriguing, offering substantial assistance to the state, covering everything from extensive intelligence sharing to transformative changes in energy.
Everything seems positive with a bright future ahead, but we must face a harsh reality: our Western partners are struggling with the modernization of their armed forces.
The EU is falling short on its commitment to supply Ukraine with one million artillery munitions by March 2024. Negotiations for long-term aid to Ukraine are also at a standstill.
In 2016, the Bundeswehr outlined a 15-year modernization plan, but most of this time has passed without substantial improvements. Efforts to train new divisions for enemy deterrence have proven unsuccessful.
Out of about 300 Bundeswehr Leopard tanks, only 30% are ready for combat. Not a single self-propelled howitzer was ordered by the government throughout the year (even though some of them were transferred to Ukraine), and no spare parts sets were procured. All 18 expensive Puma IFVs (priced at €17 million each) shut off during exercises.
The situation is no better for the Americans: amid the full-scale war between Russia and Ukraine, the total production of US defense goods has only seen a modest 10% increase.
Washington might need to activate the Defense Production Act, repurposing some civilian industries for military needs. However, this necessitates a rise in defense spending. To gear up for war without escalating debt, the US must trim expenses on social programs with widespread public backing.
The security of Ukraine's present and future appears to have been a topic of discussion among several prominent visitors, including US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, and EU Council President Charles Michel, who visited Kyiv. Rumors behind the scenes suggest optimism, viewing Ukraine as a "global security element." Sources indicate these high-profile guests may have strategic moves yet to be revealed — details we'll likely learn soon.
About the author. Orest Sohar, journalist, chief editor of Obozrevatel.
The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the blog authors.