Seven NATO leaders pledge support for Ukraine

15 June 2022

The leaders of seven European NATO member states—Belgium, Denmark, Latvia Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Romania—pledged their support on 14 June for providing more heavy weapons to help Ukraine in its war with Russia, as well as for Sweden and Finland’s bids to join the alliance.

The support was expressed after an informal gathering at Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s official residence in The Hague co-hosted by his Danish counterpart, Mette Frederiksen to help prepare for the NATO Summit in Madrid on 29-30 June. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who also attended, agreed that Ukraine should have “more heavy weapons”, adding that “NATO allies and partners have provided heavy weapons for a long time, but they are also stepping up”. He also “strongly welcomed” Swedish and Finnish membership, but also said concerns raised by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had to be taken seriously. “There is no other NATO ally that has suffered more terrorist attacks than Turkey,” Stoltenberg said. Ankara is threatening to veto membership for the two countries until they change their policies on supporting Kurdish militants deemed by Turkey to be terrorists.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, criticized the support so far for Ukraine: “We have not done enough defend Ukraine, to support Ukrainian people to defend their freedom and sovereignty. And this is why I urge you, I asked you to do much more to deliver weapon, artillery to Ukraine”. He added, “Where is our credibility if Ukraine fails? Can we imagine that Ukraine fails and we revert back to business as usual? I hope not”.

Stoltenberg said that NATO had strengthened its defences following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, reinforcing “our ability to protect and defend every inch of NATO allied territory”. He said that in Madrid, “we will take the next steps and agree a major strengthening of our posture. Tonight we discussed the need for more robust and combat ready forward presence, even higher readiness and more pre-positioned equipment and supplies”.

The meeting followed a mini-summit on 10 June in Bucharest of nine NATO member states on the alliance’s eastern flank where some leaders urged NATO to step up protection in light of Russia’s protracted war against Ukraine. NATO Defence Ministers are currently meeting in Brussels to further address these issues.