NATO military assistance to Ukraine: is it enough?

13.06.20161,170
Ukrainian soldiers. Credits: PA

Ukrainian soldiers. Credits: PA

According to U.S. Ambassador in Kiev Geoffrey Pyatt, his country has provided a total of over $600m to Ukraine in the sphere of defence and security. This figure includes the cost of supplies of night vision devices, secure radio communications equipment, Humvee military vehicles, and counter-mortar and counter-artillery radar systems that are “literally being used right now in the battle for Avdiivka.” “Maybe it is not as much as many of us would like, but it is substantial aid,” emphasised Pyatt.

The USA plans to provide an additional $500m dollars in military aid to Ukraine in 2017, recently announced Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain.

Besides the USA, other NATO country-members are also giving support to Ukraine. In particular, a meeting was held between General Viktor Muzhenko, Chief of Ukraine’s General Staff, and Lieutenant General Sir John Gordon Lorimer, Chief of Joint Operations at the UK’s Permanent Joint Headquarters, on 7 June in Kiev. The two discussed issues related to the expansion of British aid to Ukraine in the sphere of personnel training, the development of the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ logistical system, and the application of British experience in the physical and psychological rehabilitation of soldiers.

Ukrainian diplomats are full of determination to receive military aid not only from individual NATO members but also from the Alliance as a whole. “If Ukraine will define its needs more specifically, then the 28 NATO members would be willing to increase their contributions to trust funds for assisting Ukraine in strengthening its defence potential for the realisation of the final goal – Ukraine joining the alliance,” Acting Head of Ukraine’s Mission to NATO Yehor Bozhok stated in late May.

To understand what sort of assistance Ukraine needs from NATO, Europe Insight has asked Ukrainian experts in the area of defence, national security and Euroatlantic integration to answer three questions. Today – the first part:

  1. Rate the current level of military aid supplied to Ukraine on the part of NATO country-members on a scale of 0 to 5 where 0 means such aid is either not supplied at all or is absolutely ineffective and 5 means that Ukraine is having all its needs met.

Oleksandr Musiienko, Head of the Military Law Research Centre

Current level of military assistance to Ukraine: 2

There is not a single NATO country-member of which it can be said Ukraine receives from it everything it needs – because Ukraine has enormous requirements. I am referring to armaments and non-lethal security systems.

The USA, Canada, Great Britain and Lithuania are helping a great deal.

Yulia Tyshchenko, Expert from the Ukrainian Independent Centre for Political Studies

Current level of military assistance to Ukraine: 3

There is incomplete information on the supply of various types of assistance (lethal, non-lethal [weapons]). Non-lethal weapons are being supplied by individual NATO country-members. Plus this help comes not from NATO as an orgnisation but from individual countries.

Oleksiy Melnyk, Co-director of Foreign Relations and International Security Programmes at the Razumkov Centre

Current level of military assistance to Ukraine: 4

First of all, Ukraine is unable to formulate realistic orders (for the provision of aid). Secondly, even what is realistic for Ukraine does not lie in NATO storehouses ready for issue because NATO does not provide aid as an organisation; its members do. Thirdly, Ukraine is incapable of fully and effectively making use of this assistance, even what it is already getting.

Anton Mikhnenko, Editor of Ukrainian Defence Review

Current level of military assistance to Ukraine: 4

To give an assessment, it is necessary to take several factors into account. Above all, Ukraine is not a NATO member. Five points if it were; it is not – so, four points.

NATO assistance to the Ukrainian side consists of the following. First – the creation of trust funds targeted at the preparation of specialists in special divisions, medical training, cyber security and other such areas. The trust funds make it possible to implement the fundamental re-orientation of Ukraine towards integration into the structure of NATO and bringing the Ukrainian Armed Forces up to Alliance standards. Second – joint exercises. Third – cooperation with the defence ministry regarding the exchange of information about what we have got along the border with Russia, in Donbas, in Crimea.

NATO is using all of the possibilities it currently has at its disposal for helping Ukraine as a country not an Alliance member.

Roman Vovk, Deputy Director, International Security and Partnership Centre

Current level of military assistance to Ukraine: 5

My assessment is predicated on the fact that exercises are periodically conducted (in particular in Yavoriv ), equipment is supplied for the rehabilitation of soldiers, there are hospitals, and technical support is provided. NATO countries are supplying radar systems.

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