EXPLAINER-What are the security deals Ukraine is discussing with allies?

Credit: REUTERS/PAVLO PALAMARCHUK

By Tom Balmforth

KYIV, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Denmark became the latest NATO member to sign a 10-year agreement on security cooperation with Ukraine on Friday, the eve of the second anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion.

Italy and the Netherlands said they were planning to sign soon.

WHAT ARE THESE SECURITY ARRANGEMENTS?

The Group of Seven wealthy nations signed a joint declaration at the NATO summit in Vilnius in July last year committing to establish "long-term security commitments and arrangements" with Ukraine that would be negotiated bilaterally.

The deals would promise continued provision of military and security aid, support to develop Ukraine's defence industrial base, training Ukrainian soldiers, intelligence-sharing and cooperation, and support for cyber defence.

The sides would also immediately hold consultations with Kyiv to determine "appropriate next steps" in the event of a "future Russian armed attack".

More than 30 countries have since signed the declaration.

WOULD THIS BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR NATO MEMBERSHIP?

Kyiv says the arrangements should contain important and concrete security commitments, but that the agreements would in no way to replace its strategic goal of joining NATO. The Western alliance regards any attack launched on one of its 31 members as an attack on all under its Article Five clause.

"There has been speculation that by concluding enough of these agreements, we do not need membership. False. We need NATO membership," said Ihor Zhovkva, the Ukrainian president's foreign affairs adviser.

WHO HAS SIGNED DEALS SO FAR?

Germany and France signed agreements on security commitments with Ukraine when President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visited Berlin and Paris earlier this month.

Britain in January became the first country to sign one of the security agreements with Ukraine for a term of 10 years, by which time Kyiv hopes to be inside NATO.

London said the deal formalised a range of support that it "has been and will continue to provide for Ukraine's security, including intelligence-sharing, cyber security, medical and military training, and defence industrial cooperation".

WHICH OTHER COUNTRIES ARE SET TO SIGN DEALS?

Ukraine has held at least two rounds of talks on the agreements with all the G7 countries, Zhovkva said.

More than 10 countries are in the active stage of talks or potentially starting soon, he added. The additional countries include Romania, Poland and the Netherlands.

The Netherlands said on Friday it would soon sign a 10-year security deal with Ukraine for continued military support, help in reconstruction and the improvement of its cyberdefences.

"Without Western support, Ukraine as we know it will cease to exist," Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot said. "The Russian threat will move closer, putting pressure on the stability and safety of our continent."

WHAT DOES UKRAINE WANT FROM THE DEALS?

Ukraine's Zhovkva singled out as "very important" the provision in the British deal under which consultations could be held within 24 hours to provide swift and sustained aid.

This, he said, went beyond the "infamous" 1994 Budapest Memorandum under which Ukraine was provided with security "assurances" by Britain, Russia and the United States in return for relinquishing nuclear weapons from its territory.

"We do not want to repeat the infamous experience of the Budapest declaration, which remained just a declaration," he said.

Zhovkva said there was no need for Ukraine to rush to agree deals. "I don't need 10 or 15 agreements concluded within one week. Rather, I would have this same 10 or 15 agreements deeply thought over, well-negotiated and with concrete signs of long-term and varied support for Ukraine."

(Additional reporting by Olena Harmash; editing by Mark Heinrich)

((Olena.Harmash@thomsonreuters.com;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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