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NATO debates ways to keep weapons flowing to Ukraine if Trump returns to White House

Foreign ministers debated a proposal today to create a €100 billion five-year fund for Ukraine.

NATO FOREIGN MINISTERS debated a proposal today to create a €100 billion five-year fund for Ukraine, as the alliance’s chief urged them to guarantee long-term arms supplies for Kyiv’s outgunned forces.

“Ukraine has urgent needs,” Jens Stoltenberg said as the ministers met in Brussels. “Any delay in providing support has consequences on the battlefield as we speak. So we need to shift the dynamics of our support.”

“We must ensure reliable and predictable security assistance to Ukraine for the long haul so that we rely less on the voluntary contributions and more on NATO commitments, less on short-term offers and more on multi-year pledges.”

Officials said that NATO’s secretary general has proposed creating a €100 billion fund to help arm Ukraine in its fight with Russia over five years.

“Moscow needs to understand that they cannot achieve their goals on the battlefield and they cannot wait us out,” Stoltenberg said, without giving details of his proposal.

The plan got support from Ukraine’s staunchest supporters such as Poland and the Baltic states.

But other nations have cautioned that there are many questions on where financing would come from and the plan could change dramatically by the time of a summit in Washington in July.

Belgium’s foreign minister Hadja Lahbib said the meeting would discuss the “feasibility” of the proposal that envisions NATO members contributing according to the size of their economy.

“But it is dangerous to make promises that we cannot keep,” she said.

Germany’s foreign minister Annalena Baerbock backed setting up “long-term structures” to support Ukraine, but warned against “juggling in the air” vague figures.

The plan from Stoltenberg would also see a NATO mission take more control of coordinating arms supplies to Kyiv from a US-led grouping that currently helps oversee support.

Officials say that could help insulate the flow of weaponry to Ukraine from a potential return of Donald Trump to the White House in November.

The move would mark a major shift for the Western military alliance, which has so far refused as an organisation to send weapons to Ukraine for fear it would drag NATO closer to a conflict with Russia.

But Hungary – one of the friendliest countries to Russia in NATO – said it would not support any proposal that might “draw the alliance closer to war”.

‘Vital that Ukraine wins’

Stoltenberg’s pitch comes as Ukraine’s forces are struggling to hold back Russia in the face of dwindling supplies from Kyiv’s Western backers.

A $60-billion US funding package is currently stalled in Congress but there are hopes lawmakers could move to pass it in the coming weeks.

the UK’s foreign secretary David Cameron said.

“Their defence, their security is an investment in our defence and our security.”

The meeting in Brussels comes as NATO tomorrow marks 75 years since it was founded in the wake of World War II to face off against the threat of the Soviet Union.

“As we celebrate NATO’s achievements, we do not rest upon them,” Stoltenberg said.

“Europe now faces war on a scale we thought was resigned to history.”

On the sidelines of the meeting, NATO foreign ministers were also expected to discuss the race to replace Stoltenberg, whose decade-long tenure ends in October.

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis launched a surprise challenge against the frontrunner Dutch premier Mark Rutte.

Diplomats said Rutte now has the support of some 90 percent of NATO countries, but Hungary and Turkey remain holdouts blocking a swift nomination ahead of the summit.