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NATO plans new military package for Ukraine

NATO defense ministers gather for 2-day meeting ahead of leaders’ summit to be held later this month

BRUSSELS

NATO leaders will approve a new military assistance package for Ukraine to modernize its army at their summit later this month, the NATO chief said on Wednesday.

Jens Stoltenberg was speaking at a news conference ahead of the two-day meeting of NATO defense ministers which prepares for the NATO leaders’ summit to be held on June 29-30 in Madrid.

NATO defense ministers have gathered on Wednesday for a working dinner with their counterparts from Ukraine, Georgia, Sweden, Finland, and the European Union to discuss the latest security developments, Stoltenberg said.

He explained that NATO allies are committed to providing military equipment to Ukraine, including heavy weapons and long-range missile systems, as well as to step up practical support for the country and other partners at risk, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Georgia.

Stoltenberg said he expects NATO leaders to agree at their Madrid summit on “a comprehensive assistance package for Ukraine, helping Ukraine in the longer term to transition from Soviet-era equipment to modern NATO equipment.”

He confirmed that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is also invited to the summit, and said he prefers welcoming the Ukrainian leader personally instead of via video link.

The defense ministers will also discuss the membership application of Sweden and Finland, as well as Türkiye’s “legitimate concerns related to their fight against the PKK group and other organizations,” he added.

The meeting, which continues on Thursday, will address the “need to significantly strengthen our deterrence and defense to respond to new security reality,” the NATO chief asserted.

According to Stoltenberg, the changes will include “more presence, more capabilities and higher readiness” with more NATO troops deployed on the ground, in air, and at sea in the eastern flank, as well as in cyberspace.

NATO leaders are expected to give the final green light on the reforms in Madrid.

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