Warsaw Summit of NATO: what Ukraine can expect?

01 Jul, 2016 | |

On the 8th and 9th of July, 2016 various heads of state and governments of NATO members countries will meet in Warsaw for NATO’s annual summit. Though Ukraine is not a member of NATO, heads of state of the Ukrainian Government were also invited to attend the Warsaw Summit. While several things will be discussed during the summit, such the developments in Libya, cooperation between the EU and NATO, and security in Afghanistan, it is without a doubt that Ukrainian representatives will want to discuss its current military reforms, its continued conflict in Donbas and its Russian military participation.

Recent developments around the NATO summit

According to reports, though the summit is less than a month away, world leaders have already had much to say about the upcoming event. For example, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated that those gathered at the summit “will take a series of important decisions to strengthen [NATO’s] collective defense and enhance [NATO’s] cooperation with partners.” Moreover, during his press release the Secretary General also outlined NATO’s concerns about the security situation in Ukraine, noting that there are “continued ceasefire violations in eastern Ukraine.” Hence, with these points in mind, the conflict in Donbas and Russian aggression will be discussed during the summit.
Ukraine’s Minister of Defense Stepan Poltorak also commented on the developments in Donbas.
“How can we talk about a ceasefire when it is violated 50 or 60 times a day, when [Ukrainian soldiers are] wounded every day?” asked the Minister of Defense. He also added that the separatists in Donbas have continued to use heavy artillery weapon, which were banned in the Minsk II Agreements. His comments, in addition to the Secretary General’s, have outlined the importance of Ukraine’s conflict and how the West must overcome the threat of Russian aggression in the east.
Following these comments, on 15th July NATO ministers and Defense Minister Poltorak met to discuss the aforementioned issues. During this meeting NATO announced that it would introduce a “Comprehensive Package of Assistance” in order to help bolster Ukraine’s defenses. Moreover, the parties discussed ways in which Ukraine could further implement government and military reforms.
According to Secretary General Stoltenberg, the package will “help Ukraine establish more effective and efficient defense and security structures, and to strengthen civilian control over them.” He also added that “Russia needs to stop supporting the militants, and withdraw its forces and military equipment from Ukrainian territory.” The Secretary General then concluded his statements by stating that NATO looks “forward to [its] meeting with the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko at the summit in Warsaw. This summit of heads of state and governments is a clear sign of NATO’s commitment to safety and stability in Ukraine.”

What the expectations are?

Overall Ukraine has had a positive buildup in preparation for the Warsaw Summit. Minister of Defense Poltorak met with various NATO representatives, where they discussed the importance of aiding and assisting Ukraine with its current crisis. Moreover, the delegates further stressed the need to reform Ukraine’s government and military capabilities. These are promising signs that NATO is willing to work with Ukraine in helping it resolve its current crisis.
It should be stressed, however, that despite these recent developments, the NATO Summit in Warsaw will also need to address several other topics during this two day span. For instance, the continued conflict in Syria, the Middle East, and refugee crisis has severely affected several NATO member states. Hence, in their opinion, this is one of the most important issues that need to be addressed. Moreover, the continued threat of ISIS is also a great concern for NATO member states, and a strategy needs to be developed as to how the West may counter their growing influence and terrorist activities abroad.
As a result, it is possible that the topics that Ukraine wishes to address might not be viewed as important as these other pressing issues, partially because Ukraine is not a member of NATO, and thus true justice may not be done towards helping Ukraine resolve its crisis in Donbas and with the Russian Federation. After all NATO will have many things to discuss during this two day period. Unfortunately, if this is the case, Ukraine will be powerless in this situation. Only time will tell what will happen during these future developments.

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