NATO Allies must stand firm in their support for Ukraine at a “decisive moment” where Russia “has upended the global security order,” Michal Szczerba, Acting President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly said Friday.
“Here in Copenhagen, we will again make crystal clear our own unwavering support for Ukraine - for as long as it takes for Ukraine to prevail and to win,” Mr Szczerba told a news conference as the Assembly opened its 2023 Annual Session. “We want to ask our parliaments and governments to sustain military support for Ukraine.”
The NATO PA Annual Session will run until Monday in the Danish capital, gathering about 240 members of parliament from the 31-member Alliance and from close to 20 partner parliaments, including Ukraine. Talks are focused on Russia’s brutal and illegal war and efforts to strengthen NATO’s defence and deterrence.
“NATO must continue to adapt to a new strategic era, not only because Russia has upended the European and indeed global security order, but also because we are increasingly faced with a clash of values between autocracies and democracies,” Mr Szczerba said.
An essential link between legislators, citizens and NATO, the Assembly is set to adopt several sets of policy recommendations for Allied governments and parliaments, including by urging them to quickly implement decisions taken at a Summit in July designed to make NATO stronger in the challenging security environment as well as stepping up military support for Ukraine.
“We are an Alliance of democracies,” Mads Fuglede, head of the Danish Delegation to the NATO PA told the news conference. “As Allies we speak with one voice. We have one goal which is that Ukraine should be free, and that Russia should be held accountable for this war.”
Beyond the more robust military stance, the Alliance must recommit to defending shared democratic values against threats from autocratic powers, including through the creation of a Centre for Democratic Resilience at NATO Headquarters, Mr Szczerba said.
“Our democracies face their greatest challenge in a generation,” he cautioned. Allies should show clearly that “NATO is united and resolute in its determination to ensure democratic values prevail over imperialism and autocracy.”
Lawmakers in Copenhagen will discuss security issues with experts and senior officials including Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana and the Chairman of Ukraine’s Parliament Ruslan Stefanchuk.
Maksym Suprun, until August Commander of the 66th Mechanised Brigade, a frontline unit of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, is also scheduled to brief lawmakers in committee meetings over the weekend.
Other issues set for debate over the four-day meeting include challenges in the Western Balkans, terrorism, climate change, advances in military technology and NATO’s Open Door policy following Finland’s entry this year and Sweden’s membership bid.
“The Alliance will stand stronger with Sweden in NATO,” Mr Szczerba concluded.
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