US and Ukraine expected to sign long-term security agreement at G-7 summit

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
5 Min Read

The United States and Ukraine could sign a bilateral security agreement during the G-7 summit in Italy on Thursday, paving the way for Washington's long-term security relationship with Kyiv, CNN reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

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The agreement follows months of negotiations between the US and Ukraine and is expected to see the US commit to training Ukraine's armed forces for the next 10 years, increased cooperation in the production of weapons and military equipment, continued provision of military assistance, and greater intelligence sharing.

However, CNN quoted sources as saying that this pledge is expected to be an “executive agreement,” making it less formal than a treaty and not necessarily binding on any future president. Therefore, the deal is likely to be revoked by a future US administration.

Former President Donald Trump, who is also the Republican Party's presumptive presidential nominee, has not explicitly said whether he would continue to support Ukraine if he wins in November. However, he has repeatedly confirmed that he would negotiate a quick end to the Russia-Ukraine war, but he has not explained how.

He has pressed European countries to contribute more to his defense and has said he would encourage Russia “to do whatever it takes” if Europe does not increase its defense funding.

The US-Ukraine deal does not promise any specific financial support for Ukraine's defense, two sources familiar with the agreement said.

An annex to the agreement will outline how the Biden administration plans to work with Congress on the implementation of security commitments, particularly with regard to long-term funding needed to defend Ukraine, one of the sources said.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday that the U.S. commitment to Ukraine would be “laid out clearly” at the G-7 and that Washington would “take bold steps to show Putin that time is not on his side and he cannot wait much longer, as we support Ukraine's fight for freedom.”

Kirby also said that President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would meet during the summit and that the US would announce steps to unlock Russia's frozen assets for use in rebuilding Ukraine once the war ends, CNN reported.

The pledge to be signed between the US and Ukraine will be similar to 14 other bilateral agreements that Ukraine has already signed with other allies, including Britain, France and Germany.

One source said the US-Ukraine deal would be the 15th of its kind, and 17 other countries have committed to negotiate similar bilateral security agreements with Ukraine.

Under the agreement, the United States would promise to consult with Ukraine immediately after a future Russian attack to determine next steps, people familiar with the deal said.

But like Ukraine’s other allies, the bilateral agreement with the US will not include a mutual defence provision under which they would commit to defend Ukraine militarily in the event of another attack.

According to CNN, although Zelensky has welcomed the bilateral commitments, he has repeatedly stressed that they are not a substitute for full NATO membership, which includes a mutual defense provision known as Article 5.

The agreement comes at a time when U.S.-Ukrainian relations are just beginning to heal, after being strained by a fight in Congress late last year and this year over additional U.S. funding for Ukraine — for which Biden personally apologized to Zelensky during a meeting in Paris last week.

Recently, the Biden administration agreed to allow Ukraine to use US-provided weapons to attack Russia directly. This is a major change that Ukraine had been demanding for months amid repeated Russian missile attacks on Kharkiv.

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