NATO PA pledges unwavering support to Ukraine, appeals for accelerated delivery of military equipment

22 May 2023

The NATO Parliamentary Assembly pledged Monday to maintain “unwavering” support for Ukraine and appealed to leaders of the Alliance to speed up deliveries of fighter aircraft and other military hardware Kyiv needs in its struggle against Russian aggression.  

“Russia’s war seeks to crush Ukraine’s democracy and by extension undermine the values that are fundamental to NATO and the entire democratic, civilised and peaceful world,” said a declaration adopted by the NATO PA, which brings together parliamentarians from all 31 Allied nations.  

In response, a NATO summit scheduled for 11-12 July in Vilnius must  “increase and speed up … political, military, intelligence, financial, training and humanitarian support and to sustain this support for as long as it takes for Ukraine to prevail and restore in full its territorial integrity,” the lawmakers said. 

They also urged the summit to reconfirm that the country’s “rightful place is in NATO and that Ukraine will become a member of the Alliance.”  

To that end, Allied governments and parliaments should “agree on the next significant steps towards Ukraine’s NATO membership” and highlight “the need for firm future security guarantees for Ukraine until acquiring NATO membership”.  

“We will continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes,” said NATO PA President Joëlle Garriaud-Maylam. “Today, through its courageous resistance to Russian aggression, Ukraine is defending our common security, our values and the rules-based international order. It is the future of this international order that is at stake.” 

NATO’s Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana assured the Assembly that Alliance leaders will send “a strong message” of continued support to Ukraine when they meet in Vilnius.  

“We must continue to support Ukraine,” Geoana said. “If Putin wins, it would be an immense tragedy for the heroic people of Ukraine, but it would also make Europe less secure, and it would send a message to other authoritarian leaders that they can achieve their goals by using force … this would make the whole world more vulnerable.” 

Presented by Polish lawmaker and NATO PA Vice-President Michal Szczerba, the declaration was adopted unanimously in a plenary sitting held at the end of the NATO PA Spring Session in Luxembourg which was dominated by Russia’s criminal war on Ukraine and the need for NATO to adapt its defence and deterrence posture in the face of threats from Russia and other security challenges.  

The declaration also urged Alliance governments and parliaments to explicitly recognise Russia’s Wagner mercenary group “as a criminal and terrorist organisation.” 

Addressing the meeting by video link from Ukraine, Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov listed air defence systems and armoured vehicles as his country’s priority equipment needs.  

“Supporting Ukraine in this war is 100% in the interests of your countries and the citizens you represent … we are fighting for civilisational values and European values,” said Reznikov, who was joined by Yehor Cherniev, Ukrainian head of delegation in addressing Monday’s sitting.  “The rule of force cannot defeat the rule of law.” 

In his address to the Assembly, Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel underscored that “Ukraine is fighting for our values, they are fighting for democracy.”. “We cannot leave Ukraine alone … We are with you, and we will continue to be with you.” 

Recognising that “the Russian state under the current regime is a terrorist one,” the Assembly urged NATO leaders to “expand massive, crippling and sustained sanctions for as long as it takes until Russia withdraws all of its troops from all Ukraine’s territory.”  

It called for a “comprehensive aid programme akin to the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of a more prosperous Ukraine firmly anchored to the liberal democratic family of nations.” 

In addition, the NATO PA expressed determination that the Russian regime and “its co-aggressors in the Belarussian regime” be held accountable “for the crime of aggression, war crimes, crimes against humanity and possible acts of genocide committed in Ukraine.”  

The declaration also denounced Iran’s support for Russia’s war and stated that “any provision of lethal aid by China to Russia would be a historic mistake, which would have profound implications.” 

During the four-day meeting, the almost 250 members of parliament from NATO and partner countries heard from a series of guest speakers, including Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the leader of democratic forces in Belarus, and Oleksandra Matviichuk, director of Ukraine’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning Centre for Civil Liberties. 

The Assembly next meets in Copenhagen for its Annual Session, 6-9 October.  

The Assembly is institutionally separate from NATO, but serves as an essential link between NATO and the parliaments of the NATO nations. It provides greater transparency of NATO policies, and fosters better understanding of the Alliance’s objectives and missions among legislators and citizens of the Alliance.