BORGO EGNAZIA: US President Joe Biden and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a 10-year bilateral security agreement on Thursday aimed at bolstering Ukraine’s defence against Russia.

The deal, signed on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Italy, aims to commit future US administrations to support Ukraine, even if former president Donald Trump wins the November election, officials said.

It will be a framework for a long-term effort by the United States to help develop Ukraine’s outdated armed forces and serve as a step towards the country’s eventual Nato membership, according to the text.

“Our goal is to strengthen Ukraine’s credible defence and deterrence capabilities for the long term,” Biden said. Zelensky has long sought Nato membership, but the allies have stopped short of taking that step. The Western alliance regards any attack launched on one of its 32 members as an attack on all under its Article Five clause.

“The parties recognise this agreement as supporting a bridge to Ukraine’s eventual membership in the Nato alliance,” the text says.

In the event of an armed attack or threat of such against Ukraine, top US and Ukrainian officials will meet within 24 hours to consult on a response and determine what additional defence needs are required for Ukraine, the agreement says. Under the agreement, the United States restated its support for Ukraine’s defence of its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“To ensure Ukraine’s security, both sides recognise Ukraine needs a significant military force, robust capabilities, and sustained investments in its defence industrial base that are consistent with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato)standards,” the text says.

Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2024

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