NATO summit prioritises Ukraine support, Indo-Pacific ties, and defence spending

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has discussed key topics for the upcoming alliance summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, during a meeting with top US officials at the White House. Stoltenberg, who will step down as secretary general in September, highlighted NATO’s commitment to support Ukraine and strengthen deterrence on defence at the summit.

Stoltenberg also emphasised the importance of sending a strong message to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has backed Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine since February 2022. He stated that Putin’s victory in the war would make the world more dangerous and encourage authoritarian leaders worldwide to use military force to achieve their goals.

Other priorities for the Vilnius summit, scheduled for July 11 and 12, include forging stronger partnerships with countries in the Indo-Pacific region. Stoltenberg also expressed his intention to push NATO allies to fulfil their 2006 pledge to commit 2% of their GDPs to defence spending, a commitment many of the 31 member nations have not met in the years since.

Tuesday’s meeting was rescheduled after US President Joe Biden had an unexpected root canal on Monday, causing the 80-year-old president to postpone several White House appointments. This marks Biden’s fourth meeting with Stoltenberg, a Norwegian politician and former prime minister who took on the role in 2014. Biden praised Stoltenberg’s work with the military alliance and reaffirmed the US’s commitment to NATO’s Article 5, which states that an attack on one NATO ally is considered an attack on the entire alliance.

Earlier in the day, the Biden administration announced a new security assistance package for Ukraine, worth US$325m, which included arms and equipment like artillery rounds, anti-tank weapons, and ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS). This announcement coincided with a newly-launched counteroffensive effort by Ukrainian forces to expel Russian military members from their territory. While gains have been modest, Stoltenberg expressed optimism about the progress made by Ukrainian forces.

Biden and Stoltenberg also indicated their support for welcoming Sweden into the NATO alliance during their meeting. Sweden, one of only five European Union members not part of NATO, has moved to join the alliance amid rising concerns over Russian aggression following the invasion of Ukraine. Sweden’s Nordic neighbour, Finland, became the 31st NATO member in April, overcoming objections from Turkey and Hungary. Stoltenberg expressed hope for Sweden’s accession to NATO, despite ongoing negotiations and objections from Turkey.

World News


With a Bachelor's Degree in English, Jenn has plenty of experience writing and editing on different topics. After spending many years teaching English in Thailand, Jenn has come to love writing about Thai culture and the experience of being an ex-pat in Thailand. During long holidays, she travels to North of Thailand just to have Khao Soi!

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