NATO defence ministers to back Ukraine training and support mission

Brussels, June 13 (IANS/DPA) NATO Defence Ministers are in Brussels on Thursday and Friday for two days of talks to agree on a training support mission for Ukraine as well as long-term financial commitments.

In a press conference ahead of the meeting, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg urged allies to “approve a plan for NATO to lead the coordination of security assistance and training to Ukraine”.

The project is a major part of a defence package for Ukraine that the 32-member alliance wants to approve at a NATO leaders’ summit in Washington in July.

The aim is to transfer responsibility for coordinating military aid for Ukraine from an informal, US-led structure called the Ukraine Defence Contact Group to the formal structures of NATO.

There are also talks ongoing between allies to seal a commitment to long-term financial support for Ukraine.

Stoltenberg said previously that €40 billion ($43 billion) is needed each year for Ukraine at a minimum.

Rustem Umerov, Ukraine’s Defence Minister, is taking part in the meeting with NATO Defence Ministers as part of a coordination body called the NATO-Ukraine Council.

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin is to chair a meeting of the US-led initiative on Thursday that has been the subject of intense discussion among allies ahead of the Defence Ministers’ meeting.



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