‘We can afford a drawn-out war!’ Polish foreign minister announces NATO mission to Ukraine

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, left, shakes hands with Poland's Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski at a ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of NATO at NATO's headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, April 4, 2024 (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert).
By John Cody
3 Min Read

NATO member states have decided to establish a joint mission in Ukraine, not as a means of entering the war, but to use the alliance’s coordination, planning, and training capabilities to support the wartorn country more effectively, Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski has announced.

Sikorski insisted that NATO was planning several years ahead and warned Russia not to underestimate the alliance’s determination to see Ukraine being able to defend itself.

“As the North Atlantic Alliance, we are 20 times richer than Russia and can afford a drawn-out conflict, if necessary,” Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski warned during a press conference in Brussels, after a NATO foreign ministers’ meeting. “It would be important for Putin to understand that we are planning, if necessary, for a few years, and that he is not able to win this war within a few months or even a year, or two,” he added.

The ministers also discussed a proposal establishing a special five-year, $100 billion aid fund for Ukraine, intended to signal NATO’s readiness to support Ukraine over the long term.

Sikorski noted that the $100 billion is a significant funding package and that contributing to the fund proportionally to GDP is worth considering. While not all allies may agree initially, Sikorski sees the initiative as valuable and believes a consensus can be reached through negotiations.

The decisions taken come in the aftermath of remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron who, at a summit on aid for Ukraine, said that individual NATO member states may decide to send troops to Ukraine on the basis of bilateral agreements, and later revealed that should Russian forces get close to capturing Kyiv or Odesa, he was ready to send French troops to Ukraine. 

The decision taken at the summit of NATO foreign ministers stopped short of any declarations on sending troops to Ukraine, but what was agreed is that the alliance would have a presence that could in future facilitate such movements. 

Russia was quick to respond to the announcement of a NATO mission to Ukraine, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying that Moscow would be monitoring the move very closely.

Russia has in the past threatened that the engagement of NATO troops in Ukraine would mean war between Russia and NATO.

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