Long-term western military guarantees would protect Ukraine – report | Ukraine


Ukraine’s allies should commit to large-scale, legally-binding arms transfers and decades-long investments in the country’s defenses, according to a report that examined alternatives to Kyiv’s long-term aspirations to join the NATO alliance.

The report was commissioned by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and co-authored by former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Zelenskiy’s chief of staff Andrey Yermak.

The purpose of the report was to provide a security structure for Ukraine that ensures Russia does not seek to invade again, and is separate from Zelenskiy’s calls for the West to step up arms deliveries to to repel the sudden advance of Ukrainian troops.

Ukraine’s possible future NATO membership was one of the issues Russia invoked to justify its invasion in February.

The report, which was the subject of extensive diplomatic consultations, does not propose that NATO countries should collectively be obliged to offer their troops to defend Ukraine’s sovereignty, but affirms that there should be no no restrictions on military, diplomatic and economic assistance provided by NATO member countries through bilateral agreements. The level of support could be scalable depending on the level of threat and should apply to all of Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders.

The report asserts that “the best guarantee of security for Ukraine lies in its ability to defend itself against an aggressor… To do this, Ukraine needs the resources necessary to maintain a significant defensive force capable of resisting the armed forces and paramilitaries of the Russian Federation.

“This requires a decades-long effort of sustained investment in Ukraine’s defense industrial base, scalable arms transfers and intelligence support from allies, intensive training missions and exercises. together under the flags of the European Union and NATO”.

A core group of allies that will be reunited with Ukraine includes the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Poland, Italy, Germany, France, Australia, Turkey and the countries Nordic, Baltic, Central and Eastern Europe.

Military guarantees could provide commitments to Ukraine that would amount to “closed skies” through the provision of air and missile defense equipment.

The safeguards, the report suggests, should not require Ukraine to limit the size or strength of its armed forces, or adopt a position of neutrality, but they would require Ukraine to remain on a democratic path.

Critics of the report will question the enforceability of the legal safeguards offered, the scale of the financial support required and the threat that such a powerful military will not act solely in self-defence.

Ukrainian forces will be trained to NATO standards and at the scale necessary to build a robust territorial defense force and reserve force, including some form of conscription for civilians over the age of 18. Training activities will be supported by an extensive program of exercises both on Ukrainian soil and with Ukrainian forces on EU or NATO territory.

Non-NATO countries like South Korea could provide non-military guarantees such as a commitment to sanctions in the event of another Russian attack. A legal framework should be developed to allow authorities to seize the assets of the aggressor, its sovereign funds and reserves, as well as the assets of its citizens and entities on the sanctions list.

The sanctions would only be lifted when Russia ceases its aggression against Ukraine, guarantees that it will not attack Ukraine in the future, and compensates Ukraine for damages caused during the invasion.

Rasmussen said: “Once this war is over, we have to make sure that Russia can never invade again. The best way to achieve this is for Ukraine to have a significant military force capable of resisting any future Russian attack. Building and sustaining such a force requires a decades-long commitment from Ukraine’s allies.

“The adoption of these recommendations would send a strong signal to Vladimir Putin. It would show that our commitment to Ukraine will not waver, that its war is futile.”

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