WOW: Ukraine Signs Brand New Deal

Ukraine is signing bilateral defence deals with France and Germany on Friday, cited as a “historic step” Olaf Scholz, and as creating a “NATO light” in the press.

Germany signed a ten-year defence agreement with Ukraine on Friday, with President Volodymyr Zelensky visiting Berlin and inking the document with Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The agreement will see Germany give Ukraine more funds, military assistance, and apply more sanctions on Russia.

Germany said in the document that they are “unwavering in its support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within borders, which have been internationally recognised since 1991”.

Chancellor Scholz said: “Two years after the beginning of this terrible war, we are sending a crystal-clear message today to the Russian president: we will not ease off in our support for Ukraine” and that the agreement is a “historic step”.

Responding to the signing of the German deal on Friday and the coming of the French later in the day, German newspaper Welt said the agreements were creating something akin to a “NATO light”, with European nations obliged by treaty to come to the aid of Ukraine if it is attacked in the future. This, it said, is “a kind of consolation prize for refusing to accept Kyiv into the Western defense alliance, [promising] permanent arms supplies, help in training soldiers and building up its arms industry”.

French President Macron had been due to visit Kyiv this week to sign the French deal, but the trip was cancelled. Zelensky therefore travelled to Paris instead as part of his tour of European states this week: he is due to address the important Munich Security Conference tomorrow before returning to Ukraine.

Per a French government spokesman, reports Le Figaro, signing the deal now — very nearly exactly two years after the war began — is a symbol, “showing that our determination to provide support to Ukraine is as strong as on the first day”.

The deals follow another similar security agreement signed by Ukraine and the United Kingdom last month. That document was hailed by Zelensky as “unprecedented” at the time, and saw the UK affirm its support for Ukraine joining the European Union and NATO. “The UK will continue to support Ukraine for as long as it needs”, the document said, to “ensure Ukrainian Armed Forces and security forces are able to fully restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders”.

Like the German and French deals, the UK commitment was for ten years, and that in the event of “Any future Russian invasion” Britain would “provide Ukraine with swift and sustained security assistance, modern military equipment across all domains as necessary, and economic assistance”.

Le Figaro notes Zelensky is signing bespoke agreements with these European nations because “each country has its preferences, its cautions and its resistance”, so a group declaration would become unworkable.