Ukraine’s Western backers are facing delays in finalizing security guarantees for Kiev, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. The discussions, which have only been initiated by the US and UK so far, are expected to take many months to reach a resolution. European officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, revealed that some bilateral arrangements may not be agreed upon until next year. The pledges have yet to establish consensus on their level of detail.
One of the major challenges that the negotiations are facing is accurately predicting Ukraine’s future military needs. Additionally, Western defense industries need to ensure that they can fulfill any promises without compromising their own countries’ defense capabilities. As of now, only the US and the UK have started the process. The US State Department announced the first meeting between American and Ukrainian officials in early August, while London confirmed the initiation of negotiations shortly after.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the US officials are hoping to hold a second round of talks in the coming weeks, while French representatives are also expecting to engage with the Ukrainians during the same period. However, negotiations have yet to begin in other European countries.
The Biden administration is reportedly eager to prevent any potential backtracking on security commitments by its successor in the Oval Office. With Donald Trump leading the Republican contenders for the 2024 elections, European allies are concerned that he may disregard any agreement, as he did with the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal during his first term. Trump has repeatedly advocated for scaling back US military aid to Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky expressed his expectations for security guarantees, stating that he envisions a model similar to Israel’s, encompassing weapons, technologies, training, and funding. Israel has been the largest recipient of US foreign military aid since World War II, although recent allocations for Ukraine have surpassed those provided to Israel since the outbreak of hostilities between Kiev and Moscow.
In July, the G7 countries pledged to provide security guarantees to Ukraine after NATO did not offer the country membership during its Vilnius summit. Since then, over a dozen other countries, mostly European, have agreed to join the initiative. Russian President Vladimir Putin stated in mid-July that Moscow has no objection to security guarantees for Ukraine as long as Russia’s national security is not compromised.
The negotiations for security guarantees for Ukraine are complex and lengthy, involving multiple parties and careful considerations. The process is currently limited to discussions between the US, the UK, and Ukraine, and it may take several more months before concrete agreements are reached.