Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Affairs

Time for NATO to Take the Lead in Ukraine

| Aug. 04, 2022

The War’s Next Phase Will Demand More From the Alliance

Since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, the West has provided billions in military and economic assistance aid to Kyiv. The United States alone has provided more than $8 billion in security support in the last six months. The money and arms are making a difference on the battlefield. The recently delivered U.S.-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), for example, have allowed Ukraine to launch counteroffensives in the southeast and repel attacks elsewhere.

Support from other NATO allies has been mixed, however. Germany, for example, has been delayed in delivering similar rocket systems, with the first arriving just in the last few days, and other promised heavy weapons likely delayed until the end of the year. France, which has one of Europe’s most capable militaries, has provided only around $160 million in military support to Ukraine, and committed 0.008 percent of its GDP in military aid. In contrast, Estonia, Latvia, and Poland committed 0.84 percent, 0.69 percent and 0.32 percent, respectively, despite having much smaller economies. Poland alone has delivered at least $1.8 billion worth of weapons.

Russia’s advance on Ukraine is now turning into a long war of attrition in which each side tries to wear the other down. Assisting Ukraine for this type of war will require a different approach: the country will require many more heavy weapons, most notably air defense systems, delivered faster and from more European allies. And NATO members in eastern Europe that have drawn down their own weapons stocks will need continuous resupplies.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Polyakova, Alina and Ilya Timtchenko.“Time for NATO to Take the Lead in Ukraine.” Foreign Affairs, August 4, 2022.

The Authors