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The Guardian - US
The Guardian - US
Léonie Chao-Fong (now); Maya Yang and Lili Bayer (earlier)

Nato summit live: Stoltenberg says Ukraine Nato membership is ‘not the question of if, but when’ – as it happened

Jens Stoltenberg.
Jens Stoltenberg at the Nato summit in Washington on 10 July 2024. Photograph: Ting Shen/EPA

Closing summary

  • The first F-16 fighter jets are on their way to Ukraine and will be flying sorties this summer, according to a statement from the Dutch and Danish governments. Dick Schoof, the prime minister of the Netherlands, and Mette Frederiksen, his counterpart from Denmark, said the “transfer process” of F-16s to Kyiv was under way after months of pilot training and political negotiations.

  • The long-awaited supply of F-16s is part of what Nato’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said would be “a substantial package” of support for Ukraine, which includes the donation of four Patriot air defence systems, Nato-led training for Ukraine’s troops – and a commitment that Kyiv’s eventual path to Nato membership is “irreversible”.

  • Nato allies also criticised China, with stronger language than used before, for assisting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, calling it a “decisive enabler” of the war by supporting Moscow in its “no limits” partnership, and supplying components for military equipment and chemicals for explosives.

  • Keir Starmer, the UK’s prime minister, said his new government will stick with plans to spend at least £3bn every year on military support for Ukraine for “as long as is it takes” in its conflict with Russia. After his first official bilateral talks with the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, at the Nato summit in Washington, Starmer confirmed the military aid would continue until at least 2030-31.

  • Britain will be “the leading European nation” in Nato under a Labour government, the new defence secretary, John Healey, pledged – though spending may have to rise significantly if the UK is to remain ahead of Germany.

  • The US will deploy long-range weapons to Germany in 2026 in an effort to demonstrate its commitment to Nato and European defence, the two countries announced.

  • Joe Biden, the US president, promised to defend Ukraine against the Russian invasion in remarks to Nato leaders. “We can and will defend every inch of Nato territory and we will do it together,” Biden told Nato leaders as they opened the first work session.


David Lammy, the UK’s new foreign secretary, shared a photo of him and his US counterpart, secretary of state Antony Blinken, meeting at the Nato summit today.

The US and UK are partners in supporting Ukraine, Lammy said in a post to Twitter/X, adding that the countries are “unshakeably committed” to Nato and “the closest of friends and allies”.

Lammy added that he and Blinken will “work side by side to take the special relationship from strength to strength”.


Ukraine’s “future is in Nato” and its path to membership is “irreversible”, Nato leaders jointly declared in a statement published today.

The joint declaration said Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has “shattered peace and stability” and “gravely undermined global security”, adding that Moscow remains “the most significant and direct threat to Allies’ security”.

We reaffirm our unwavering solidarity with the people of Ukraine in the heroic defence of their nation, their land, and our shared values. A strong, independent, and democratic Ukraine is vital for the security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic area.

Nato leaders “fully support Ukraine’s right to decide its own future”, the declaration said, adding that they welcomed the “concrete progress” Kyiv had made on its required democratic, economic and security reforms.

As Ukraine continues this vital work, we will continue to support it on its irreversible path to full Euro-Atlantic integration, including NATO membership. We reaffirm that we will be in a position to extend an invitation to Ukraine to join the Alliance when Allies agree and conditions are met.


France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, also met with Keir Starmer today on the sidelines of the Nato summit. It was “good to see you”, Macron posted to Twitter/X, adding:

Our work together has already got off to a good start! We have a lot to achieve together!


Here’s more on that meeting between Keir Starmer and Joe Biden at the White House, where the US president jokingly said Starmer was responsible for England reaching the Euro final.

The UK and US are “the best of allies”, Biden said, adding: “We really need to compete and cooperate,” according to the pool report.

Biden said he was feeling “really optimistic” and that that he thought things are “moving in the right direction” at the Nato meeting.

Biden added that he saw the UK “as the knot tying the transatlantic alliance together”.

Starmer, in turn, congratulated Biden on a successful Nato summit and described the US-UK relationship as “so important”, adding that it was “forged in difficult circumstances, endured for so long and is stronger now than ever”.


China's deepening ties with Russia a cause of 'deep concern', says Nato declaration

Deepening ties between China and Russia are a cause of “deep concern”, Nato leaders said in a declaration from their summit, accusing Beijing of playing a key role in helping Moscow’s assault on Ukraine.

China “has become a decisive enabler of Russia’s war against Ukraine through its so-called ‘no limits’ partnership and its large-scale support for Russia’s defense industrial base”, the declaration said, AFP reported.

They urged China to “cease all material and political support to Russia’s war effort”, adding that this “includes the transfer of dual-use materials, such as weapons components, equipment, and raw materials that serve as inputs for Russia’s defense sector”.

China “cannot enable the largest war in Europe in recent history without this negatively impacting its interests and reputation”, Nato leaders said.


Keir Starmer held a meeting with Joe Biden at the White House, during which the UK prime minister said the “special relationship” with the US is “stronger than ever”. Starmer said:

The special relationship is so important, it was forged in difficult circumstances and endured for so long and is stronger now than ever.

Asked by a reporter if football is coming home after Ollie Watkins scored a dramatic last minute goal for England, Starmer replied: “It looks like it.”

Biden responded:

It’s because of the prime minister.


The new UK government will stick with plans to spend at least £3bn every year on military support for Ukraine for “as long as is it takes” in its conflict with Russia, Keir Starmer has said.

After his first official bilateral talks with the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, at the Nato summit in Washington, the prime minister confirmed the military aid would continue until at least 2030-31.

The UK has to date promised almost £12bn in support to Ukraine since February 2022, of which £7.1bn is for military assistance. The rest is for humanitarian and economic support.

In his talks with Zelenskiy, Starmer underscored that Ukraine was on an “irreversible” path to Nato membership. However, diplomats at the Nato summit say that setting out any firm timetable would be a gift to the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

On Thursday, the prime minister will tell his fellow leaders:

Nato was founded by the generation who defeated fascism. They understood not just the value of our strength, but the strength of our values.

Those values are under attack once again. Putin needs to hear a clear message ringing out from this summit – a message of unity and determination, that we will support Ukraine with whatever it takes, for as long as it takes to uphold our shared values and our shared security.

US to deploy long-range weapons to Germany

The US will deploy long-range weapons to Germany in 2026, the two countries announced on Wednesday.

In a joint statement released amid the ongoing Nato summit in Washington DC, the two Nato allies said:

“The United States will begin episodic deployments of the long-range fires capabilities of its Multi-Domain Task Force in Germany in 2026, as part of planning for enduring stationing of these capabilities in the future.

When fully developed, these conventional long-range fires units will include SM-6, Tomahawk, and developmental hypersonic weapons, which have significantly longer range than current land-based fires in Europe.

Exercising these advanced capabilities will demonstrate the United States’ commitment to Nato and its contributions to European integrated deterrence.”

Following months of training and negotiations, the first F-16 fighter jets are heading to Ukraine.

The Guardian’s Dan Sabbagh reports:

The first F-16 fighter jets are on their way to Ukraine and will be flying sorties this summer, according to a statement from the Dutch and Danish governments that was released by the White House at the Nato summit.

Dick Schoof, the prime minister of the Netherlands, and Mette Frederiksen, his counterpart from Denmark, said the “transfer process” of F-16s to Kyiv was under way after months of pilot training and political negotiations.

The two leaders said that “Ukraine will be flying operational F-16s this summer” – the first of about 85 of the combat aircraft that have been committed to Kyiv to turn around its fortunes on the battlefield, and Ukraine signalled more may be to come.

The long awaited supply of F-16s is part of what Nato’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said would be “a substantial package” of support for Ukraine, which includes the donation of four Patriot air defence systems, Nato-led training for Ukraine’s troops – and a commitment that Kyiv’s eventual path to Nato membership is “irreversible”.

For the full story, click here:


Stoltenberg answered a question on the potential reversal of Ukraine’s possible membership to Nato, saying:

“Surely, if a country goes back on reforms, reneges on commitments, by definition, it is going backwards. It is reversing its path. That’s not to say that’s what Ukraine is doing now, but surely you can’t rule out in the future …

Words are important and words create expectation, create an agenda, define an ambition. But of course, as important as words, the language in the declaration is actually what we then have agreed to do. So in many ways, action speaks at least as loudly as words …

The Nato doctrines also help them to move closer to membership. We have … agreed to establish a new joint analysis and training center in Poland that will help us to move closer. And of course, the fact that allies are, for instance, delivering F16s and many other types of weapons … These are all concrete actions that will bring [Ukraine closer to Nato membership].”


Speaking on the opening of a Nato office in Amman, Jordan, Stoltenberg said:

“This marks a significant milestone in the strategic partnership between Jordan and Nato. This is an issue that I also discussed last time King Abdullah visited Nato … By establishing the Nato … office, we are bringing this partnership to a new level.”

“It also demonstrates that Nato actually addresses the threats and the challenges, but also the opportunities that emanate from the Middle East, from North Africa. Of course, we see terrorist threats, we see instability, but we also see opportunities, working more closely with our partners, including Jordan,” he added.


Speaking on the latest Nato communique defining China’s role in Russia’s war in Ukraine, Stoltenberg said:

“The declaration we have agreed today is the strongest message Nato allies ever sent on China’s contributions to Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine. So that in itself is a strong message,” he said.

Speaking on Ukraine’s military response to Russia’s aggression, Stoltenberg said:

“According to international law, Ukraine has the right for self defense. We are helping them to uphold the right of self defense by delivering weapons, ammunition, missiles,” he said.

“The right of self defense includes the right to strike legitimate military targets on the territory of the aggressor, Russia,” he added.

Stoltenberg: 'I expect the US to remain a staunch ... important Nato ally'

“I expect the US to remain a staunch and of course, important Nato ally,” Stoltenberg said.

“Just by the fact that United States is by far the biggest ally, I expect that for at least three reasons. One is that it is in the security interest of the United States to have a strong Nato. The United States becomes stronger and safer with Nato than without …

The second reason why I expect that the United States will remain a loyal ally is that there is broad bipartisan support in it,” said Stoltenberg, adding that he has met with US House and Senate leaders who have all showed “strong bipartisan support for Nato.”

“The third reason is that the main criticism from former president Trump, but also from other US presidents, has not primarily been against Nato. It has been against Nato allies not investing enough in Nato … The clear message has had an impact, because now allies are really stepping up,” he said.

“The message from the United States has been understood and allies have acted,” he added.


Stoltenberg has accused China of being an “enabler” of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

“China is a decisive enabler of Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine… China provides dual-use equipment, micro electronics, a lot of other tools which are enabling Russia to build the missiles, to build the bombs, to build the aircraft, to build the weapons they’re using to attack Ukraine and the fact that this is now clearly stated, agreed by all Nato allies, is an important message to China,” he said.

“I think the message sent from Nato, from this summit, is very strong and very clear, and we are clearly defining China’s responsibility when it comes to enabling Russia’s war aggression against Ukraine,” he added.

Stoltenberg on Ukraine Nato membership: 'Not the question of if, but when'

Stoltenberg said that Ukraine’s membership to Nato is not a “question of if, but when.”

“As Ukraine continues its vital reforms, we will continue to support them on the irreversible path to Nato membership. The work we are doing together now will ensure that when the time is right, Ukraine can join without delay. It is not a question of if, but when,” he said.

“In this dangerous world, friends and partners are more important than ever,” he added.

Speaking of the new military pledges, Stoltenberg said, “This will not make Nato party to the conflict, but it will help Ukraine to uphold its right to self-defense.”

“We also agreed a financial pledge helping Ukraine to build a force capable of defeating Russian aggression today and deterring it tomorrow. We have agreed that 40 billion euros is a minimum baseline within the next year and to ensure sustainable funding for Ukraine prevails,” he added.

“Today, allies has agreed a pledge that will strengthen transatlantic defense, industrial cooperation to boost production,” said Stoltenberg.

He went on to add that Nato allies have agreed to strengthen air and missile defenses.

“We will take over the coordination and provision of most of the international security assistance to Ukraine, with a command led by a three-star general and around 700 personnel working at Nato headquarters in Germany and at hubs in the eastern part of the alliance to provide the support to Ukraine,” he added.

Jens Stoltenberg has arrived at the podium and is speaking to reporters.

“We have employed combat-ready forced on Nato’s eastern flank…the most comprehensive defense plan since the Cold War,” he said.

“All of this has been made possible by historic increases in defense investment across the alliance,” he added.

Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg is set to deliver a press conference shortly at the Nato summit in Washington DC.

Stay tuned as we bring you the latest updates.

The UK prime minister, Keir Starmer, took a break from Nato meetings in Washington to watch the England v Netherlands semi-final with his Dutch counterpart, Dick Schoof, just in time to catch that absolutely beautiful equaliser from Harry Kane.

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, met with the US House speaker Mike Johnson after sitting down with the Senate delegation in Washington DC.

Zelenskiy told reporters that he invited Johnson to visit Ukraine during a meeting. Johnson said it would be difficult to find the time for a trip before the November election, according to Reuters. Johnson said:

We’d sure like to. The schedule’s pretty tight through the election for us, so it’s difficult to find the time to go, but we’d certainly like to.

Johnson, in his first major national security address this week, warned that Russia poses a threat beyond Ukraine, and that American voters have expressed support for Ukraine aid.

People understand that [Putin] would not stop if he took Kyiv. He’s a ruthless dictator in my view.



Volodymyr Zelenskiy also posted about meeting with a US senate delegation led by the Democratic Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, and Republican minority leader, Mitch McConnell.

The Ukrainian leader said the group spoke about the current battlefield situation and US defence support, and that he informed the delegation about “Russia’s increased missile terror against Ukrainian cities and critical infrastructure.”

Zelenskiy added:

I extend my gratitude to the President of the United States, both chambers of Congress, both parties, and the American people for their support of Ukraine.

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has posted to social media about his first meeting with Keir Starmer.

Zelenskiy said he thanked Starmer for the UK’s military and financial assistance to his country, and said he is “grateful” for its “unwavering support”.

US president Joe Biden and leaders of other Nato member states are set to announce new aid and emphasise a membership pledge for Ukraine at a summit in Washington after Biden promised to defend Kyiv against the Russian invasion.

“We can and will defend every inch of Nato territory and we will do it together,” Biden told Nato leaders as they opened the first work session.

Here’s a clip from Biden’s speech:

Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda, said he hopes the Nato summit would show that the road to the alliance for Ukraine is irreversible. Reuters quotes Duda as saying:

This summit will most likely not send this invitation (for Ukraine to join Nato), but I hope...that it will become a fact at the next summit of the North Atlantic Alliance.

Finland’s president, Alexander Stubb, said he was “very happy” with the language of the final declaration of the Nato summit, which is expected to say that Ukraine was on an “irreversible path” to membership. Stubb said:

I think it’s very important to give a message to the Kremlin from here that Ukraine’s path and bridge toward Nato membership is now irreversible.

He noted that Russian president Vladimir Putin only understands “power” and that he wanted to stop Nato expansion but instead Ukraine “will become a Nato member” and “Finland and Sweden became Nato members as well,” Stubb said.

Nato to declare Ukraine on 'irreversible path' to membership, says report

Nato countries have agreed to declare that Ukraine is on an “irreversible path” to membership, according to a report.

In a final declaration from the Nato summit, countries will agree to support Ukraine on “its irreversible path to full Euro-Atlantic integration, including Nato membership”, AFP reported, citing diplomatic sources.

The declaration will also repeat previous language that Ukraine will receive a formal invitation to join “when allies agree and conditions are met,” the sources said.


Kaja Kallas, the Estonian prime minister who is set to become the EU’s next high representative for foreign affairs, has posted about meeting Keir Starmer at the Nato summit in Washington.

Kallas congratulated Starmer on becoming the UK prime minister, and said the pair spoke about support for Ukraine and the need to strengthen the Nato alliance.

The two leaders also discussed defence cooperation between their countries, she said, adding:

We couldn’t ask for a better ally in securing the security of our region.

Hungary's Orbán urges to keep Nato 'a defence alliance'

Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, says he will urge that Nato be preserved “as it was meant to be: a defence alliance.”


Britain has traditionally been the leading European nation in Nato, as measured by defence expenditure, outspending Germany and France.

But since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Germany’s chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has led a dramatic change in policy.

Figures released by Nato showed that in dollar terms the UK spent $77bn (£60bn) in 2023 compared with $73.1bn for Germany and $59.3bn for France. But, next year, Germany’s budgets are expected to soar past Britain at $97.7bn – compared with $82.1bn for the UK.

Labour has promised to increase defence spending to 2.5% of GDP from its existing level of 2.32% but it has not said when it would do this. On Wednesday, John Healey said a review of budgets would part of a strategic review that will be launched next week by the prime minister.

The new defence secretary promised that the review would take place “in less than a year” and in such a way that “we can get to grips with difficult decisions that need to be taken early”.

Britain will be “the leading European nation” in Nato under a Labour government, the new defence secretary, John Healey, pledged in an interview at the Nato summit in Washington DC – though spending may have to lift significantly if the UK is to remain ahead of Germany.

The cabinet minister, appointed last Friday, acknowledged that European countries within Nato would have to take on more of the burden of defending the west against Russia – regardless of whether Joe Biden or Donald Trump won the US presidential election in November.

“Whoever is elected to the White House, we have to recognise that American priorities are likely to shift to the Indo-Pacific,” Healey said at the Nato summit in Washington, suggesting that the US will inevitably redirect its military focus to China.

The consequences of that are that European nations in Nato must do more of the heavy lifting and some of the leadership that traditionally we have been able to look to the Americans to do.

So Keir Starmer’s commitment during this summit, [is] that under the new government, Britain will be the leading European nation in Nato … We recognise the responsibilities that with other European nations we must pick up.

Here are some images from the newswires of Nato leaders gathering for a family photo.

Nato 'can and will defend every inch of territory', says Biden

Joe Biden closes his remarks by saying that the Nato-wide push to strengthen defence manufacturing “sends an unmistakable message to the world:

Every Nato member is committed to doing their part to keep the alliance strong. We can and will defend every inch of Nato territory, and we’ll do it together.

He says Nato leaders will ensure that the alliance will always be ready “for whatever threats we will face”.

Biden thanks every Nato member for their commitment in their shared security.

Russia 'significantly' ramping up defence production with help of China, North Korea and Iran, says Biden

Nato leaders, at a summit two years ago, launched a plan to modernise their deterrence and defence, Joe Biden says.

Today, we have to ask ourselves, what is next? How can we keep making the shield stronger? One answer must be to strengthen our industrial base.

The US leader says that Russia is on a wartime footing with regard to defence production, and are “significantly ramping up” their productions of weapons, munitions and vehicles “with the help of China, North Korea and Iran”. Biden says:

We cannot allow the alliance to fall behind.

Biden says he is pleased that Nato members are working to expanding their industrial base and capacity, including defence spending commitment, which he describes as “a critical step to maintaining our security”.

He says that Nato will become more “innovative and competitive” as members develop plans for defence production at home, and notes that his administration has invested $30bn in defense manufacturing across 35 US states.

We will not be surpassed. We cannot be surpassed by anyone when it comes to our readiness.


'We're stronger than we've ever been', says Biden

Joe Biden speaks next. The US president begins by quoting one of his predecessors, Harry S Truman, and says that Nato was created 75 years ago in the hope of creating a “shield against aggression and the fear of aggression”.

For the past 75 years, countries have grown and prospered behind the Nato shield, Biden says. “Today, we’re stronger than we’ve ever been.”

Biden says that since he became president, Nato has doubled the number of battle groups in the eastern flank, and both Finland and Sweden have joined the alliance.

The number of allies spending at least 2% on defense has gone from nine to 23, Biden says. “That’s not happened by chance, but by choice.”


Stoltenberg: Ukraine support 'not charity' but in Nato security interest

Jens Stoltenberg, the Nato secretary general, says that leaders meeting at the summit will “make decisions for our future security”.

Nato countries will also increase support for Ukraine “by establishing a Nato coordination and security assistance and training for Ukraine” as well as “ensuring sustained support for the long term”. Stoltenberg goes on to say:

Support to Ukraine is not charity. It is in our own security interest.

He says Nato will also reinforce partnerships in the Indo Pacific “to push against the growing alignment of Russia, China, Iran and North Korea”.

Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg thanks the US president, Joe Biden, personally for hosting the summit, and says there is “no better place” to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the alliance than in Washington DC, where the North Atlantic Treaty was signed back in 1949.

Stoltenberg also thanks Biden for his “personal leadership and strong commitment” over the many years to Nato which has “all made us stronger”.

The Nato chief welcomes the Swedish prime minister, Ulf Kristersson, “to the family” (Sweden became a full Nato member in March of this year).

Jens Stoltenberg, the Nato secretary general, is now welcoming alliance leaders, who have gathered in Washington.


Nato leaders are taking their seats at a round table.

“Air defence is crucial for Ukraine in this very moment. We need to find as many partners to support our initiative in this field,” Germany’s Olaf Scholz said.

Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskiy met with Germany’s Olaf Scholz.

“The additional Patriot systems, the battlefield situation, and the implementation of the Peace Summit results were the main topics of our meeting,” Zelenskiy said.

Kaja Kallas, the Estonian prime minister who is expected to be the next EU high representative for foreign affairs, has listed her priorities for the summit.

Nato allies have only delivered half the aid they promised Ukraine, Romania’s president, Klaus Iohannis, said today, Reuters reported.

“Regarding the aid that all of us are giving Ukraine, I think the time has come to be realistic, we have delivered about half of what we promised,” Iohannis told reporters.

“And that is not enough. If we want Ukraine to win we must help more.”

No change in UK's support for Ukraine with new government, says Starmer

Keir Starmer, the British prime minister, has said the Nato summit would send a message to Vladimir Putin about the alliance’s resolve to support Kyiv, PA Media reported.

I’ve just had a very good meeting with President (Volodymyr) Zelenskiy, where I made it absolutely clear that as far as the UK is concerned, the change of government makes no difference to the support that we will provide.

We’d been united on this when we were in opposition, and it was really important to me to be able to affirm that face-to face at the meeting.

He also said the summit was a chance “to discuss with president Zelenskiy what further support he needs and to use our opportunity here with our allies to make sure that that support is agreed.”

“And to reinforce, in a sense as a message to Putin, the resolve of Nato, bigger now than it’s ever been, more united than it’s ever been and absolutely clear eyed about the threat of Russian aggression,” he added.


Dick Schoof, the new Dutch prime minister, said he “assured” Ukraine’s president “once again of the Netherlands’ continued support for Ukraine: whatever is needed, for as long as it’s needed.”

“For instance, the Netherlands is working with the US, Germany, Italy and Romania to strengthen Ukraine’s air defence, and the Ministry of Defence has just announced that in the coming years more funds will be set aside for F-16 ammunition,” he added.

“Today we reaffirm our ironclad commitment to a strong EU-NATO partnership anchored in our shared values,” said the outgoing European Council president, Charles Michel.

The first F-16 fighter jets are on their way to Ukraine and will be flying sorties this summer, according to a statement from the Dutch and Danish governments that was released by the White House at the Nato summit.

Dick Schoof, the prime minister of the Netherlands, and Mette Frederiksen, his counterpart from Denmark, said the “transfer process” of F-16s to Kyiv was under way after months of pilot training and political negotiations.

The two leaders said that “Ukraine will be flying operational F-16s this summer” – the first of about 85 of the combat aircraft that have been committed to Kyiv to turn around its fortunes on the battlefield.

An announcement on F-16s had been expected at the same time as the summit, and the hope is that the fighters will be able to stifle Russian glide bomb attacks launched from warplanes operating up to 43 miles (70km) away that have been devastating frontline positions.

Read the story here.

Speaking at the Nato public forum, the alliance’s secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg spoke of past delays to support for Ukraine but that “now we are providing more support and I’m confident that allies will now actually deliver.”

The purpose of a stronger Nato role in providing training and security assistance, he added, is “to minimise the risks for future delays and gaps.”

But, he said, “you don’t have guarantees, because at the end of the day it has to be support in all the individual allied capitals and parliaments.”

The purpose of creating a stronger Nato framework, he said, is making support more robust and predictable.

Stoltenberg also pushed back against the perception that the US is nearly alone in its support for Kyiv, emphasing the role of Europe and Canada.


UK’s Labour will not boost military spend without economic growth, says minister

The Labour government will not increase spending on the military unless it is also able to grow the economy, the armed forces minister has said, as Keir Starmer comes under pressure to say when Britain’s defence spending will hit 2.5% of GDP.

Luke Pollard said on Wednesday the government wanted to hit the target promised by the former prime minister Rishi Sunak, but would not be able to do so without economic growth.

His comments come as the prime minister begins a two-day visit to Washington DC for the 75th-anniversary Nato summit, at which he will urge other member countries to increase their defence spending.

Pollard told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The way we deliver increased public spending on defence, on schools, hospitals or prisons, is by growing our economy. If we don’t grow our economy, there won’t be the money to support those public services and the ambitions that we have – and that includes defence.”

Read the full story here.

Lloyd Austin, the US defence secretary, is now speaking at the Nato public forum.

The alliance will continue implementing its new plans, which will improve its ability to deter and defend against any new threat, he said.

Austin also noted that the alliance will work to endorse a pledge to expand industrial capacity, which would help scale up military production and send a long-term signal to industry.

He also said the alliance will deepen cooperation to support Ukraine’s self-defence.

“Today, president Biden alongside the Dutch and Danish prime ministers is proud to announce the transfer of F-16s is officially underway, and Ukraine will be flying F-16s this summer,” he said.


'F-16s bring just and lasting peace closer,' Zelenskiy says

Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the Ukrainian president, said he is grateful to countries taking steps to help Ukraine’s air force get F-16s.

“I am grateful to the United States, Denmark, and the Netherlands for taking practical steps to achieve the goal of all Ukrainians: to strengthen the Ukrainian air force with F-16s,” he said.

He added:

I anticipate that our air force capability coalition will be strengthened even further through the joining of new participants. F-16s bring just and lasting peace closer, demonstrating that terror must fail everywhere and at any time.

Our team continues to work in Washington to reach agreements that are strengthening Ukraine’s defense capabilities.


Pedro Sánchez, Spain’s prime minister, stressed a message of solidarity to Ukraine when arriving for the summit. Ukraine is not only defending itself, he said, it is defending the rules-based international order, international law and democratic values, the Spanish leader said.

He also spoke of security of the alliance’s southern flank.

The Spanish leader also mentioned Spain’s win against France.


Norway’s prime minister, Jonas Gahr Støre, told reporters when arriving for the talks that “we are 32 democracies and there are always elections in democracies some year, and making strong unity among democracies is seldom straightforward – but when you make it, it is extremely strong. And I think it is strong now.”


The German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has underlined the importance of Nato support for Ukraine, Reuters reported.

“Germany is the largest country in Europe within the Nato alliance. This gives us a very special responsibility and I can say very clearly here we will, I will, fulfil this responsibility,” Scholz said.


Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, is now speaking at the Nato public forum.

Watch here:

Rustem Umerov, the Ukrainian defence minister, has thanked partners who have made decisions on donating air defence systems.

“New announcements are coming soon! Air Defence is our priority,” he wrote.

Norway will donate six F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine this year, the Norwegian prime minister’s office announced.

Here are some images from Washington today.

“Friends. Partners. Allies.”

A strong Nato is in America's interest, secretary-general argues in Washington

Asked about the impact of the upcoming US election, Jens Stoltenberg, the Nato secretary-general, said that “I expect that regardless of the outcome of the US elections, the US will remain a strong and staunch Nato ally.”

“It is in the US security interest to have a strong Nato, he said.

He also said he believes the US will remain a strong ally due to “broad bipartisan support for Nato.”

Stoltenberg also stressed: “The main criticism from president Trump and also from others against Nato has actually not primarily been against Nato, it has been against Nato allies not spending enough on Nato – and this has really changed.”

“Just over the last years, we have seen a dramatic increase in defence spending across Europe and Canada,” he added.


Nato allies to agree on 'substantial' package for Ukraine, Stoltenberg says

Jens Stoltenberg, the Nato secretary-general, is now addressing reporters in Washington.

This will be a historic summit, he said, adding that the alliance will do more than celebrate its 75th anniversary, but “make important decisions” for the future.

“On Ukraine, I expect allies to agree a substantial package,” he said.

This will include five parts, according to Stoltenberg:

  • Nato command to provide security assistance and training

  • A long-term pledge to continue sustaining support

  • New announcements of immediate support, including air defence

  • New bilateral security agreements

  • Stepping up work on interoperability

“All together, these five elements constitute a strong bridge for Ukraine to membership of the alliance, and I’m confident that allies will then reiterate the commitment to that Ukraine will become a member of Nato,” he added.


'No peace initiatives can be based on Russia’s narratives,' Ukraine tells Hungary

The Ukrainian foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, has met with his Hungarian counterpart, days after the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, controversially travelled to Moscow to meet with Vladimir Putin.

Kuleba said:

I briefed Peter on the situation on the frontline as well as the preparations for the second Peace summit. In this context, I emphasized that no peace initiatives can be based on Russia’s narratives.

The recent Russian attack on the Okhmatdyt children’s hospital demonstrates once again that accommodating Putin does not deliver because he continues to seek war, and we must jointly make him to accept just and lasting peace.


Britain’s new prime minister, Keir Starmer, indicated that Ukraine can use long-range missiles supplied by the UK to strike military targets in Russia, AFP reported.

Starmer told reporters that decisions on the use of British-supplied Storm Shadow missiles were for the Ukrainian armed forces.

UK military aid is “for defensive purposes but it is for Ukraine to decide how to deploy it for those defensive purposes,” he said.

The British foreign secretary, David Lammy, has called for Russia to immediately release Russian-British citizen Vladimir Kara-Murza on humanitarian grounds.

Vladimir is being held in deplorable conditions in prison for having the courage to tell the truth about the war in Ukraine.

His absurd 25-year sentence shows the Kremlin’s deep fear that more Russians will know the reality of Putin’s illegal war – and is further evidence of the targeted repression of the opposition.

I am extremely concerned that Vladimir’s lawyers are being denied access to him in prison hospital, and that the Russian authorities continue to refuse him consular assistance from the British Embassy.

I was particularly moved when I met his wife, Evgenia Kara-Murza, and mother, Elena Gordon, previously. Their determination and tireless campaigning are inspiring, and I look forward to meeting them again soon.

Russia said today that its military was still working to create a “buffer zone” in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, Reuters reported.

“Of course, the realisation of this task is time-consuming, it takes time. Work in this direction is under way,” the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said when asked how long it would take for Russia to guarantee the security of Belgorod.

A behind the scenes view from the French ambassador to Nato, Muriel Domenach.

Sweden is participating in this week’s Nato summit as a full member of the alliance for the first time.

Margus Tsahkna, the Estonian foreign minister, outlined his priorities for the summit, including keeping “Nato’s attention on the most significant threat to to the Euro-Atlantic security - Russia.”

Speaking in Washington last night, the EU’s foreign policy, Josep Borrell, called on both the US and Europe to step up on defence.

I am happy to have heard, a moment ago, President Biden say that Russia cannot prevail.

For that, we have to increase our industrial capacity, putting more money on the table, more technological development. We did that during the Euro crisis. We did that during the pandemic. We will do it again to rebuild our defence.

But allow me to remind you that the awakening of Europe - as much needed as it is - should not imply that the US should rest easy.

Allow me to say to you that the 6 months spent by the Congress to discuss US military support to Ukraine - ‘Yes, we do. No, we don’t. We finally do’ - has come with a bill in terms of human lives losses. [It] has come with a bill in terms of weakening the capacity of Ukraine to defend itself.

We have to overcome this kind of discussions, all of us on both sides of the Atlantic.

We have to join our forces in order to fight against the challenge that Russia represents, today as it was 75 years ago.

Here’s the schedule for today’s talks in Washington (all in local time).

8:15am: Nato secretary general’s doorstep

8:45am: Leaders’ doorsteps

10:40am: Nato secretary general’s address at the NATO Public Forum

12:15pm: Welcome ceremony

1pm: Meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the level of heads of state and government

2pm: Arrivals of heads of delegation from partner countries

4:30pm: Secretary general’s press conference

8pm: Social dinner for heads of state and government and their spouses

“I am committed to protecting our country and our allies,” the UK’s Keir Starmer said today as Nato leaders gather in Washington for talks.

Dick Schoof, the new Dutch prime minister, has said that “the war in Ukraine shows that Nato has lost none of its importance.”

“The Netherlands is a founding member of NATO and has always been a loyal and constructive Nato Ally,” he added.

The former Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, has been selected as the alliance’s next secretary-general.

European leaders use Nato summit to sell military alliance to US voters

European leaders at the Nato summit in Washington are focused on explaining to ordinary American taxpayers that the military alliance is worth the money, as the issue of burden-sharing has become a political football for both parties in the US – and threatens to become a serious stumbling block for the alliance should a second Trump administration come to power.

“There is a debate in the United States that the US are doing a lot to support Ukraine and Europe is not doing enough. If you look at figures, it’s actually a different picture. Europe is doing more than the United States: the financial support, military support we all have provided so far has been enormous … We are taking the security and defense seriously,” said Edgars Rinkēvičs, the president of Latvia, during a speech on Tuesday alongside former CIA director Leon Panetta and the Estonian defense minister, Hanno Pevkur. “It’s also very important to explain to the American public.”

In background briefings, European officials have said they have been concerned with political turmoil in the US and Europe. The US was among countries that pushed back against a multi-year financial pledge for military aid to Ukraine – in part because of the bitter fight in Congress over the Ukraine supplemental bill.

“We think that this is essential to signal that Europeans are taking a greater burden of their own security,” said another European official ahead of the summit. “And it’s an important message to Ukraine, to Russia – but also for domestic audience. Here in DC, we are aware of the sensitivity of that topic, and I think you can expect a lot of strategic communication on that next week.”

Read the full analysis by Andrew Roth and Julian Borger in Washington.

“We shouldn’t be afraid of our own strength,” said Kaja Kallas, the Estonian prime minister who is set to serve as the EU’s next high representative for foreign affairs.


Five days after becoming the UK’s defence secretary, John Healey told a packed reception at the British embassy in Washington that Labour is “the party of Nato.”

As leaders gathered in Washington, the US president, Joe Biden, stressed the alliance “remains a bulwark of security.”

British prime minister to urge Nato members to boost defence spending

Keir Starmer will call on Nato countries to increase defence spending in response to rising global threats as he launches a major review setting out UK plans to spend tens of billions of pounds extra on the military.

The British prime minister will use Nato’s 75th-anniversary summit in Washington, his first international trip since winning power, to underline Britain’s “cast-iron” commitment to the defence alliance.

He will say that further increases in spending from allies will help Nato tackle the nature of today’s threats including Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, continued instability in the Middle East and the rise of authoritarian states.

A strategic defence review will be launched next week but is likely to take up to a year to complete, meaning growing pressure on Starmer to confirm a timetable for the UK to boost defence spending to its target of 2.5% of GDP.

In a statement before the summit, Starmer said:

There is no more important duty for me as prime minister than keeping the people of our country safe. At a time when we face multiple threats at home and abroad, we must make sure we are ready to defend ourselves. That’s why I have immediately ordered a root-and-branch review that will secure Britain’s defences for the future.

Working with our most important partners around the world, our strategic defence review will make sure the UK is sending a clear message to those who seek to undermine peace and democracy – you will not succeed.

Read the full story.

Welcome to the blog

Good morning (or afternoon, if you’re following from Europe) and welcome to the Nato summit blog.

Stay tuned for the latest news, reactions and analysis as the defensive alliance’s leaders gather in Washington for a key summit.

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