EU leaders discuss ‘future security guarantees’ and military support for Ukraine

On Thursday (29 June), EU leaders are debating potential security commitments the EU could make to Ukraine. This is one of the subjects on the agenda of the latest draft declarations of the EU summit, which Euractiv has seen privately.

EU leaders aim to design security assurances for Ukraine

“The European Union and member states stand ready to contribute, in collaboration with partners, to future security commitments to Ukraine, which will help Ukraine defend itself in the long term, deter acts of aggression, and resist destabilisation efforts,” the draft conclusion stated.

The EU leaders will discuss the concepts voiced by French President Emmanuel Macron at a GLOBSEC conference last month. He urged Ukraine’s partners to collaborate in bilateral and international formats to design “security assurances” for Ukraine.

Over the last few weeks, France has been working with the UK, the US, and Germany to set up such security assurances, or promises, for Ukraine.

Long-term military support and weapons supply

These assurances, which may parallel US commitments to Israel, could take the shape of a long-term pledge of support, including military funding, weapons and equipment supplies for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and training for the Ukrainian military so that they can deter assaults or invasions from Russian in future.

Mantas Adomenas, Lithuania’s Deputy Foreign Minister, stated that providing “security guarantees” to Ukraine entails a “long-term commitment of support.”

However, EU leaders have to “clarify” what such “security commitments” could be. It is still being determined what the EU’s role will be and that of the member states, particularly the so-called neutral ones. For example, Hungary has stated its intention to remain neutral in the Russia-Ukraine war and declined to provide military assistance to Ukraine.

Some EU member states want to ensure that this does not contradict the transatlantic debate, especially as the NATO summit in Vilnius is coming in early July.

European Peace Facility Fund to pay back states for aid to Ukraine

The EU has also been assisting Ukraine through the European Peace Facility’s off-budget fund, which is used to pay back member states for lethal and non-lethal aid delivered to Ukraine. Fund utilisation is another topic within discussions on EU support for Ukraine.

The EU has been aspiring to speed up weapons delivery to Ukraine by pressuring its member states to acquire equipment, particularly ammunition and missiles jointly, and the industry to increase ammunition production by the member nations.

Some observers say that the EU’s future security commitments could be a “re-labelling” of the EU’s already existent actions, which will extend military support and supplies to Ukraine as the war continues and Russian troops are still on captured Ukrainian territories. 

Security guarantees for Ukraine will also be discussed at NATO summit in July

Ukraine is asking the West for required security guarantees to ensure its long-term sustainability and deter Russian war aggression. However, its Western allies still need to be ready to provide Kyiv with NATO membership.

According to Politico, the Western alliance is still pivoting on many aspects of responding to Ukraine’s request for security guarantees during an ongoing war with Russia.

French President Emmanuel Macron supported “something between Israel-style security guarantees and fully-fledged membership”. The “Israel-style” refers to the powerful military aid the allies provided to Israel over many years.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak voiced a commitment that the Western allies “want to make sure that we put in place security arrangements for Ukraine for the long term”. However, specifics are needed to be clarified.

Ukraine’s allies are trying to cope with an uncomfortable reality: many do not want to give Ukraine a precise timetable for joining NATO. However, they also want to avoid leaving Kyiv vulnerable to Russian attacks and another invasion in future. Therefore, some Western European leaders insist on security guarantees for Ukraine and a more promising language about NATO membership.

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