On May 10th, 2023, the Alliance’s Chiefs of Defence from 32 nations gathered in Brussels to discuss ongoing military support for Ukraine and NATO‘s continued transformation to face key security challenges.
The meeting discussed the importance of standing strong in ongoing support for Ukraine as they seek to drive Russian forces from their sovereign territory. The UK Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, emphasized the importance of finalizing the transformation of NATO’s deterrence and defence ahead of July’s NATO Summit in Vilnius.
The meeting also welcomed the new NATO Regional Plans, which provide NATO military commanders with a wide range of options to defend Alliance territory against threats from Russia and terrorist groups. The UK is committed to standing with Ukraine for as long as it takes to defend themselves against Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion. The UK has committed to spending another £2.3bn on military support for Ukraine this year, making it one of the leading providers of military support for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Sweden, as NATO’s closest partner and ahead of its accession to the Alliance, was represented as an invitee, with the UK being the fifth NATO member to ratify Sweden and Finland’s membership. The UK continues to encourage all Allies to ratify Sweden’s membership as soon as possible, as Finnish and Swedish membership will make all Allies safer and the Euro-Atlantic area more secure.
This meeting of Defence Chiefs comes just days before the start of Exercise Spring Storm, the largest annual exercise involving the UK-led NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) in Estonia, which will see more than 1,000 members of the UK Armed Forces leading the multinational training exercise. The exercise will showcase the UK’s ability to deploy hundreds of personnel, as well as armored vehicles and helicopters to Europe, to boost interoperability with NATO allies.
The meeting emphasized the need for further support for Ukraine and a radical overhaul of NATO’s deterrence and defence to address key security challenges.