NATO Allies urged to boost military aid to Ukraine, strengthen eastern flank defences

28 May 2022

NATO Allies should urgently step up their military support to Ukraine, tighten sanctions on Moscow and bolster the Alliance’s own eastern defences, speakers at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly said Saturday, amid warnings that failure to turn back the Russian invasion would risk aggression elsewhere. 

“Our paramount priority is the fast delivery of weapons […] the faster military support from nations that we receive, the stronger response our army can give,” Emine Dzhaparova, Ukraine’s First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs told the NATO PA. 

As NATO leaders prepare a summit next month in Madrid to discuss Russia’s war against Ukraine and update the Alliance’s Strategic Concept, Dzhaparova said increased support for her country – including stronger sanctions on Russian energy exports – were an investment in NATO’s own security.  

“Whatever the price you are paying now, it’s much lower than the price NATO will have to pay if Putin […] prevails”, she said via video link.

The war in Ukraine dominated discussions at the four-day session where lawmakers expressed steadfast support for the Ukrainian people and its resistance to the invasion. The Assembly is expected to adopt at the conclusion of the session on Monday a declaration presented by Polish lawmaker Michal Szczerba in support of Ukraine. 

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis cautioned against any relaxation of support for Ukraine at this crucial stage of the war.  

“The sense of early victory should not lend itself to a feeling of complacency,” he said. “We must do everything in our power to ensure decisions for more support are taken in our capitals." 

Looking ahead, Ukraine’s First Deputy Minister of Economy, Denys Kudin called on lawmakers to support his country’s bid to join of the European Union, arguing preparations for membership would boost reforms and reconstruction. "European integration is our economic anchor for future development and the base on which we should build a democratic, free and prosperous Ukraine."  

Landsbergis called on the Madrid summit to fortify NATO’s preparedness to deter and defend against any Russian threat to Allies in the east and make sure “every inch” of Alliance territory will be defended. 

“A natural escalation step for Putin, if he is not defeated in Ukraine, would be try the resolve of NATO […] and if he were to do that, we’re quite convinced that it might be in the Baltic states,” he cautioned. “That is why we are so loudly asking for change in NATO’s posture.” 

The Assembly debated a draft report by Slovak member Tomas Valasek on how NATO’s Strategic Concept should be adapted in response to Russia’s war in Ukraine. The report argues for greater a focus on the Alliance’s core collective defence role and backed calls for stronger defences in the east.  

“Conventional capabilities need to be augmented significantly to be able to inflict such damage on the aggressor so as to deter an aggression in the first place”, Valasek wrote. “The Allies should consider upgrading ‘forward presence’ to ‘forward defence’.” 

The Assembly will also discuss on Monday a declaration presented by its President, US Congressman Gerald E. Connolly on Confronting Russia’s Threat, which also calls on the Madrid Summit to upgrade NATO’s defences in the East.