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    Europe is poised to enter a new period of confrontation between NATO and Russia


    Washington summit decision to pledge $43 billion military aid to Ukraine dashes all peace hopes

    By Nitya Chakraborty

    Europe has entered a dangerous period with all the potential of the 28 month old Ukraine war crossing the border into other parts of the continent. The summit of the 32 nation North Atlantic Treaty Organisation(NATO) held in Washington on July 9 to 11 has decided to pledge US $43 billion worth of military aid to Ukraine next year and what is more, has declared their intention to admit Ukraine to NATO as a full member. Ukraine President Zelensky attended the summit hosted by US President Joe Biden.

    The immediate upshot is that the current efforts of the United Nations for cease fire to stop massive destruction of lives and property in the country, will have no meaning as the rejuvenated Ukrainian president is going back to his country to be ready for intensifying the war efforts against the Russians bolstered by the granting of massive military aid from the NATO. Significantly, this year is the 75th year of NATO which was founded by the western nations in 1949 at the height of cold war between the United States and the then Soviet Union ruled by Joseph Stalin.

    The Summit decisions have all the bearings of a belligerent West led by the USA to corner Russia in other areas of Europe including the present countries of east Europe. USA has been making efforts for military deployment in Germany on the plea that President Putin has imperial ambitions in expanding Russian influence in the nearby countries and that should be combated in collaboration with Germany. Accordingly, the US and Germany in a joint statement announced that the US will deploy its military and long range cruise missiles in Germany as a deterrent. The phased deployment of these US missiles will start from 2026.

    All the decisions taken at the summit are meant to anger the Russian President Vladimir Putin who in the course of his discussions in the last two years made the point that Russia would never tolerate the NATO membership of Ukraine and President Zelensky was being egged by the USA and the other NATO nations to continue the war rejecting all the bilateral and multilateral negotiations on ceasefire. Further, as regards deployment of long range US missiles in Germany, President Putin had conveyed earlier his strong objections to the American officials including President Biden saying the US move would start the cold war again in new form.

    The plan to spend US$ 43 billion in 2025 was proposed by NATO's outgoing Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at a foreign ministers' meeting in Prague in May. However, Stoltenberg had wanted NATO members to make a multi-year commitment to Ukraine in order to show Russia it cannot win the war by waiting for Western support to wither.

    Instead, the funding will be reviewed next year. The Ukrainian president recently complained that the western aid has slowed down and this is adversely affecting the capability of the Ukrainian military against the Russian attacks. The July 10 decision of the NATO summit was meant to appease the Ukrainian president that the western nations will not allow Ukraine to be defeated by the Russians.

    The summit declaration also says allies will continue to support Ukraine's “irreversible path to full Euro-Atlantic integration, including NATO membership.” It affirms that “Ukraine's future is in NATO.”

    However, the declaration also underscores that Ukraine can only join when all current members agree. The United States and Germany in particular are against rushing the process as per diplomatic sources But other NATO member states want to demonstrate that Russia cannot put the brakes on Ukraine joining NATO by waging war against the country.

    It is recalled that NATO has accepted the idea of Ukrainian membership in principle since 2008, while Ukraine has had its NATO membership ambitions enshrined in its constitution since 2019. Alongside the $ 43 billion pledge, NATO leaders also agreed to launch a project for the training of Ukraine's military. Such move is taken for the first time. There are reports with the Pentagon, that the Ukrainian military personnel could not use many sophisticated weapons supplied by the NATO countries due to lack of training in handling the high tech equipment. So now, the Pentagon experts will take a major responsibility in training the Ukrainian military. Sensing the urgency, the training project starts with immediate effect from July 12.

    Interestingly, the summit declaration also calls on China to cease “all material and political support to Russia's war effort.” China “cannot enable the largest war in Europe in recent history without this negatively impacting its interests and reputation,” says the declaration. This has been stated knowing fully that at the recent summit, both President Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping have underlined their joint stand on global issues and the need for taking a joint approach . President Putin has also got a fresh boost after the Bank report stated that Russia has joined the high income group of nations like the USA defying all the economic sanctions that have been imposed on Russia in the last few years.

    President Putin is expected to expand the war in Ukraine in the wake of the NATO summit decisions. The situation may change in NATO position if Donald Trump wins in the presidential elections in November this year. His policy is to bring down the US share of military aid outside to the minimum. The maverick Republican is sure to dilute the role of NATO as president. But taking the situation as it stands today, the cold war has become hotter in Europe with NATO confronting a powerful economically strong Russia (IPA Service)




    The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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