The NATO chief and top US diplomat say their goal is to ensure Ukraine has the ability to defend itself against Russian invasion.
the war in ukraine It is likely to end up at the negotiating table, but the Ukrainians must be able to defend themselves to strengthen their position in peace talks, senior NATO and US officials have said.
At a joint news conference in Washington, DC on Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the situation on the battlefield will affect the conduct of future negotiations.
“Wars are unpredictable,” Stoltenberg told reporters. “We were able to predict the invasion, but how this war will evolve is very difficult to predict. What we do know is that almost all wars end at some point at the negotiating table.”
He added that NATO is supporting Ukraine’s right to self-defense while trusting the leadership in Kyiv to make its own judgment on the talks with Moscow.
Blinken echoed Stoltenberg’s comments.
“We are working to do … is to make sure that the Ukrainians have what they need at hand to defend themselves against this aggression, to repel it and push it back,” he said. “And also, and as a result, making sure that they have the strongest possible hand at any negotiating table that comes up.”
Blinken also said it’s hard to speculate on the trajectory of the conflict or when it will end.
“We can’t say when, we can’t say exactly how,” he said. “What we can say is what we will do to make sure that Ukraine has the means to defend itself and has the strongest possible hand every step of the way.”
Russia launched their full invasion from Ukraine on February 24 after a months-long standoff in which Moscow amassed troops near the Ukrainian borders as Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded an end to NATO expansion in the former Soviet republics.
After failing to capture the capital Kyiv, Moscow has scaled back its war targets, shifting its war efforts to the eastern Donbas region and southern parts of Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the US and its allies have continued to provide Ukraine with military equipment to combat the invasion. Last month, the United States Congress passed a An additional $40 billion in military and humanitarian assistance. President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced a new $700 million US security assistance package for Ukraine using those funds.
The package provides the Ukrainians with “new capabilities and advanced weaponry,” Biden said in a statement, including medium-range rocket systems. known as HIMARS.
US officials have said they are providing military aid to Ukraine to meet changing needs. from the war. Blinken highlighted that policy on Wednesday.
“We have assessed what we think Ukraine needs to…defend itself effectively,” he said. “And of course that has changed throughout this assault. What they needed to deal with the threats to Kyiv is very different from what they need to deal with what is happening now. In the south and eastern Ukraine.
Blinken-Stoltenberg meeting comes as Finland and Sweden push join NATO after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The candidacies of the two Nordic countries to accede to NATO have faced each other Turkish opposition that could prevent them from joining the alliance, as new allies must be approved by all 30 existing members.
Turkey has accused European countries of providing a safe haven for “terrorists,” referring to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Poland and Sweden had also restricted arms sales to Ankara in 2019 following a Turkish military operation against Kurdish forces. in northern syria.
Ankara has said it needs to see “concrete steps” from Finland and Sweden to lift their opposition to NATO membership.
On Wednesday, Stoltenberg said he is in “close contact” with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as well as the leaders of Finland and Sweden to address Ankara’s concerns.
“I will convene top officials from the three countries in Brussels in the coming days,” he said.