EXPLAINER-What are the security deals Ukraine is discussing with allies?

  • World
  • Friday, 16 Feb 2024

A woman smokes as she walks on the main street Khreshchatyk, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in central Kyiv, Ukraine February 14, 2024. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

KYIV (Reuters) - Denmark became the latest NATO member to sign a 10-year agreement on security cooperation with Ukraine on Friday, the eve of the second anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion.

Italy and the Netherlands said they were planning to sign soon.


The Group of Seven wealthy nations signed a joint declaration at the NATO summit in Vilnius in July last year committing to establish "long-term security commitments and arrangements" with Ukraine that would be negotiated bilaterally.

The deals would promise continued provision of military and security aid, support to develop Ukraine's defence industrial base, training Ukrainian soldiers, intelligence-sharing and cooperation, and support for cyber defence.

The sides would also immediately hold consultations withKyiv to determine "appropriate next steps" in the event of a"future Russian armed attack".

More than 30 countries have since signed the declaration.


Kyiv says the arrangements should contain important andconcrete security commitments, but that the agreements would inno way to replace its strategic goal of joining NATO. The Western alliance regards any attack launched on one of its 31 members as an attack on all under its Article Five clause.

"There has been speculation that by concluding enough ofthese agreements, we do not need membership. False. We need NATOmembership," said Ihor Zhovkva, the Ukrainian president'sforeign affairs adviser.


Germany and France signed agreements on security commitments with Ukraine when President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visited Berlin and Paris earlier this month.

Britain in January became the first country to sign one of the security agreements with Ukraine for a term of 10 years, bywhich time Kyiv hopes to be inside NATO.

London said the deal formalised a range of support that it "has been and will continue to provide for Ukraine's security, including intelligence-sharing, cyber security, medical and military training, and defence industrial cooperation".


Ukraine has held at least two rounds of talks on theagreements with all the G7 countries, Zhovkva said.

More than 10 countries are in the active stage of talks or potentially starting soon, he added. The additional countries include Romania, Poland and the Netherlands.

The Netherlands said on Friday it would soon sign a 10-year security deal with Ukraine for continued military support, help in reconstruction and the improvement of its cyberdefences.

"Without Western support, Ukraine as we know it will cease to exist," Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot said. "The Russian threat will move closer, putting pressure on the stability and safety of our continent."


Ukraine's Zhovkva singled out as "very important" theprovision in the British deal under which consultations could beheld within 24 hours to provide swift and sustained aid.

This, he said, went beyond the "infamous" 1994 BudapestMemorandum under which Ukraine was provided with security"assurances" by Britain, Russia and the United States in returnfor relinquishing nuclear weapons from its territory.

"We do not want to repeat the infamous experience of theBudapest declaration, which remained just a declaration," hesaid.

Zhovkva said there was no need for Ukraine to rush to agreedeals. "I don't need 10 or 15 agreements concluded within oneweek. Rather, I would have this same 10 or 15 agreements deeplythought over, well-negotiated and with concrete signs oflong-term and varied support for Ukraine."

(Additional reporting by Olena Harmash; editing by Mark Heinrich)

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