Speed is key when it comes to NATO aid fund initiative – Lithuanian, Ukrainians PMs

  • 2024-04-05
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – The speed of providing aid is key, the Ukrainian and Lithuanian prime ministers said in Vilnius on Friday, commenting on the initiative to create a 100 billion euro NATO aid fund for Ukraine.

"Whether such a fund is enough is simply a matter of comparing how much funds the aggressor is allocating and also understanding the timeframe of how that fund will fill up," Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told a joint press conference with Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte in Vilnius. "Speed is key here."

For her part, Simonyte said she wanted to discuss things that "can be done here and now".

"All other initiatives are fine, let them be, but if discussions on them take longer than is reasonable, then we still need to look for way for arms to reach Ukraine now," she said.

The prime ministers made the remarks as NATO foreign ministers discussed in Brussels on Wednesday a proposal to create a 100 billion euro five-year aid fund for Ukraine.

Russia spends around 120 billion US dollars a year on the war in Ukraine, Shmyhal said, adding that Moscow's invasion of Ukraine is costing Ukraine at least 100 billion euros a year.

"And that is just the military costs," he said.

Shmyhal also stressed the importance of not sharing publicly what Ukraine plans to do.

"(The key thing - BNS) is to provide weapons and ammunition to the front line very quickly, which is what Ukrainian troops are critically lacking," the Ukrainian prime minister said.

Under the existing proposal, the 32 NATO countries would contribute to the fund according to the size of their economies. However, some Western countries are skeptical about the initiative.

Some countries says there are still many questions about how any funding would be handled, and the plan is likely to change significantly by the NATO summit in Washington in July.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg's proposal also foresees that the Alliance would take over greater coordination control of arms supplies to Kyiv from the US-led team currently helping to oversee aid delivery.

So far, the Alliance has sent only non-lethal aid to Ukraine, and individual members have sent tens of billions of euros worth of arms to Ukraine.