The NATO Parliamentary Assembly on Monday pledged “unwavering” support for Ukraine’s democracy, independence and territorial integrity, urging Alliance nations to substantially increase supplies of military equipment to Kyiv and increase “massive, crippling and sustained” sanctions on Russia.
“Our Ukrainian friends and partners have been clear: they will not bend. And neither will we,” insisted US Congressman Gerald E. Connolly, President of the NATO PA.
“Ukraine must be able to effectively defend itself and Russia cannot be successful,” he said at the end of the Assembly’s four-day session in Vilnius. “Putin and his enablers must know that the price they pay for their reckless and maniacal war of choice will only continue to increase.”
The over 200 lawmakers from around the 30-nation NATO Alliance unanimously approved a declaration entitled “Standing with Ukraine” that condemned Russia’s war “in the strongest possible terms.”
“Russia seeks to crush Ukraine’s democracy, intimidate other sovereign and democratic countries and, by extension, undermine the values that are fundamental to NATO and the entire democratic, civilised and peaceful world,” the Assembly declared.
It urged NATO nations to step up sanctions, including by phasing out energy imports, until Russia withdraws all troops from the whole of Ukraine.
Allies should “increase substantially the level of intelligence sharing and the supply of military equipment, particularly anti-aircraft, artillery, ammunition, anti-missile, and anti-ship systems, which Ukraine urgently needs to defend itself against Russian aggression.”
Ruslan Stefanchuk, Speaker of Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, and Yehor Cherniev, Head of the Ukrainian NATO PA Delegation appealed to the Assembly to help speed up such supplies.
“As long as this war continues, the number of innocent victims will only increase, so our task is to stop the Russian aggressor as soon as possible,” Stefanchuk told the Assembly via a video link from Kyiv. “Now is the time for democracies to stand together, to make quick, clear and responsible decisions.”
The NATO PA declaration, presented by Polish lawmaker Michal Szczerba, called on Allied nations to step up humanitarian and financial assistance to Ukraine; support initiatives to hold the Russian and Belarusian leadership accountable under international law; and agree on the next steps in support of Ukraine’s NATO integration path.
Stefanchuk asked legislators to press governments to support Ukraine’s bid for European Union candidate status when EU leaders meet for a summit in June. “Ukrainians are fully sharing all the values of European civilization,” he said. “This will be of mutual benefit.”
NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana thanked the lawmakers for their role in raising awareness of what is at stake in Ukraine and in mobilising public support.
“We must be prepared to stay the course and sustain our efforts, applying maximum pressure on President Putin to end this war, and do all we can to support Ukraine for the long-haul,” Geoana said. “Parliamentarians like you have a key role in encouraging strategic patience, public support and unity.”
The Assembly also urged Alliance leaders to “clearly identify Russia’s malign revisionism and aggressive actions as the most immediate and principal threat to Euro-Atlantic security” when they meet in Madrid next month to update NATO’s Strategic Concept. That update revision should include a reinforcement of NATO’s defences in eastern members of the Alliance.
All plenary speakers echoed the call for strong support to Ukraine, including the Lithuanian President of the Republic of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda, Speaker of the Seimas Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen and Chairman of the Seimas NATO PA delegation Audronius Ažubalis.