NATO failed to fulfill promises of support to Ukraine, says Stoltenberg

Kiev’s forces have been at a disadvantage due to a decline in Western aid, the chief of the US-led military bloc has said.

Insufficient support from the West for Ukraine is the reason for Russia’s advances on the battlefield, but more military aid for Kiev is on its way, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said. He was speaking in Berlin on Thursday, where he received the Eric M. Warburg Award from the German-American NGO Atlantik-Brucke for “his outstanding dedication to the transatlantic friendship and partnership in turbulent times.” The deteriorating situation for Kiev in its conflict with Moscow was one of the main topics of his acceptance speech, in which he said Ukraine “is where we are being tested.” “We have to be honest. The reality is that, in recent months, NATO allies have not provided the support we have promised,” he said. “For months, the US was not able to agree a package. And in Europe, the delivery of ammunition is far below the levels we said we would provide.” On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden signed a $61 billion aid package for Ukraine following a lengthy standoff between the Democrats and Republicans in Congress. This had reduced deliveries of US weapons and ammunition by almost half.

Last year, the EU vowed to supply Kiev with 1 million shells by March 2024. However, the bloc later acknowledged that it would not be able to meet this goal. Ukrainian officials said previously that they had only received around a third of the promised munitions. “These delays have consequences,” Stoltenberg acknowledged. Without enough Western aid, “Ukraine has been at a disadvantage, allowing Russia to push forward on the front line.” However, NATO chief insisted that “it is not too late for Ukraine to prevail because more support is on the way.” He noted that the UK had recently announced more ammunition, air defenses, and deep-precision strike capabilities for Kiev, while Germany promised to supply a third US-made Patriot air-defense system. On Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reiterated that the $61 billion US military aid package or any other weapons deliveries to Ukraine would not “change the dynamics on the front line.”

Earlier this week, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said Moscow’s forces currently hold the initiative everywhere along the front line, and are capturing more settlements from the Ukrainians. He estimated Kiev’s losses since the start of the conflict in February 2022 at around half-a-million troops.