The moment has arrived for Western leaders to offer a practical vision for Ukraine’s long-term security. This paper lays out a detailed proposal for a sustainable multilateral security arrangement in which Ukraine has a strong military that is backed by legally codified pledges of support—training, equipping, and defense industrial cooperation—from the United States and Europe. The model outlined in this paper draws on official Ukrainian government proposals and lessons from the United States’ security relationships with close partners that are not treaty allies, notably Israel. It prioritizes a strategy of deterrence by denial: by fielding a robust, modernized, and well-trained military, Ukraine can raise the cost of future aggression to such a point that Russia would lose confidence in its ability to achieve its objectives there through force.1

Independent of battlefield developments, Ukraine and its partners must negotiate a long-term security arrangement now. Reaching a consensus sooner rather than later on a framework makes more sense than putting off controversial decisions until large-scale hostilities end. A security arrangement has the potential to undermine President Vladimir Putin’s conviction that Russia can outlast Ukraine and the West. It can also assure Ukraine that it will be able to defend its sovereignty even if it does not liberate its entire territory this year. Many of the elements contained in this proposal can be implemented during wartime—indeed, some of them are already in place—and strengthened after the war.

The proposed security model is not necessarily an alternative to NATO membership, which enjoys strong support from Ukraine’s leaders and public. The allies have promised the country an eventual place in NATO, but they have made clear that this will not be on the agenda while the war is ongoing. Even once the war ends, they are unlikely to move swiftly to admit Ukraine. Therefore, the proposal here seeks to enhance the country’s ability to defend itself as it remains outside of NATO for the foreseeable future. At the same time, it emphasizes the critical role Ukraine’s EU accession will play in its long-term security.

Eric Ciaramella
Eric Ciaramella is a senior fellow in the Russia and Eurasia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His work focuses on Ukraine and Russia.
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The United States must lead the conversation on a future security arrangement. Not only does its unparalleled capacity for security assistance and multinational coordination make it vital to the success of the arrangement, but a clear long-term U.S. pledge to Ukraine would also prompt Europe to increase its commitments, thereby ensuring proper burden-sharing. The proposed arrangement would be flexible enough to encompass commitments from the EU as a collective, from individual member states, and from other countries. To make the U.S. commitment to Ukraine credible and durable, the Biden administration must work with Congress to secure broad bipartisan support.

This study identifies five elements that are critical to a future security arrangement:

  • Strong political and legal codification that ensures the arrangement will endure regardless of electoral cycles and leadership changes in the United States and Europe
  • A predictable, multiyear pipeline for military supplies that enables Ukraine to plan and sustain a future force structure capable of deterring Russian aggression
  • Support for Ukraine’s defense industry, as well as targeted defense industrial investments in the United States and Europe to prepare for a long war and an extended period of Ukrainian military reconstitution
  • Mechanisms for political consultations, information sharing, and coordination to ensure that Ukraine’s military needs are met in a timely fashion
  • Clear linkage to Ukraine’s EU accession process and postwar reconstruction

Much of the public debate to date has focused on Ukraine’s request for security “guarantees” in response to the failure of the previous “assurances” encapsulated in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. To avoid confusion, and in light of the historical baggage these terms carry, this paper uses “arrangement” or “commitment” to refer to the future legal and political framework in question.2


Ukraine’s long-term security will be among the most vexing questions the United States and Europe will face in the years ahead. With membership in the European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) still far down the road, the country is stuck in a dangerous gray zone: outside the European security order and facing an acute military threat of indefinite duration. President Joe Biden and other Western leaders have made clear that they will not send their countries’ own forces to defend Ukraine while it is under attack.3 What is more, in surging equipment to Ukraine ahead of its counteroffensive, the United States and European countries have drawn down their stocks without a clear plan to sustain high levels of military aid thereafter.4

That is why Ukraine and its partners must come up with a security arrangement now: one that is solid enough to shake the Kremlin’s belief that it can wait out the West. It is not wise to put off this discussion until the outcome of Ukraine’s counteroffensive is clear. Nor should achieving clarity on Ukraine’s long-term security relationship with the West be viewed solely as a tool to facilitate a hypothetical diplomatic endgame, which is still far from certain. Rather, it is urgent to design and implement a formula so that Kyiv can build a robust, sustainable self-defense force even if the war rages on for the indefinite future.

This might seem like a tall order, and no exact model for such a complex multilateral arrangement exists. But Ukraine and its partners are closer to a solution than it may appear. The massive military support the United States, Europe, and others have provided since the onset of Russia’s full-scale invasion, and the political and bureaucratic innovations that have accompanied this aid, is a solid foundation upon which to chart a formal long-term plan. Ukraine’s government has made a serious proposal with the Kyiv Security Compact to translate this ongoing support into a more enduring framework.5 And the United States’ close defense relationships with non-treaty-allies—notably Israel—can offer lessons for how to make an arrangement work.

This paper examines what a long-term security arrangement for Ukraine might look like and how to make it credible and sustainable. Drawing upon an analysis of Ukrainian requirements and insights from existing successful security models, it proposes a latticework of multilateral agreements and commitments centered around training and equipping a substantial future military force. It would obligate the parties to ensure Ukraine’s ability to defend itself, but not to fight on the country’s behalf. The proposal recognizes the sustainment challenges Ukraine’s partners face and emphasizes long-range planning, coordination, prioritization, standardization, and defense industrial solutions, all of which would save costs over time.

The United States, together with Europe, must lead the discussion on security commitments to Ukraine. No other country can match its ability to source, coordinate, and deliver timely, impactful security assistance, intelligence support, and defense-industrial solutions. A strong U.S. pledge to Ukraine would also prompt Europe to make larger and more enduring security commitments, thereby creating an equitable and sustainable transatlantic formula for supporting Ukraine’s self-defense. The proposed framework would allow for contributions from the EU and individual member states; non-EU countries, such as the United Kingdom, Norway, and Türkiye; and Ukraine’s non-European partners.

Critically, Kyiv and its partners need not wait until the war is over to design and implement a security arrangement. They can put much of the proposal here in motion now as many of its elements are already, to a certain extent, in place. A long-term pact must be closely linked to Ukraine’s EU accession process too, with the country’s security policy and defense industrial base gradually integrating with those of the union, albeit heavily linked to the United States. Once the war ends, the arrangement can be enhanced to bridge the period until Ukraine joins the EU, which will confer its own security guarantee.

The proposed plan is not necessarily an alternative to NATO membership, which will remain a key demand from Ukraine’s leaders and public. Rather, it recognizes that the allies are not ready to admit the country and offers a way to anchor it into the European security system for the time being. It is, in theory, an interim solution. But with NATO membership still an uncertain prospect, this solution must be credible enough to endure. It also proceeds from a clear understanding that Russia will remain a threat to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity—and thus to Europe’s security—for a long time, while preserving room to maneuver with Moscow if it changes course.

No Time Like the Present

The interest of the United States and Europe in Ukraine’s long-term security is clear and compelling.6 Russia’s invasion poses a threat to European security and prosperity, which Washington has a strong interest in upholding. Russia and any other would-be aggressors must be deterred from attempting to change borders through military force. At the same time, the United States and Europe are not willing to deploy their own forces to defend Ukraine at present due to their desire to avoid a direct war between nuclear powers.

Western leaders have signaled that they will support Ukraine “for as long as it takes.”7 But such well-intentioned statements have not dampened Russian President Vladimir Putin’s confidence that time is on his side. In his mind, the West is fickle: it will tire of the war, curtail support for Ukraine, and move on to other matters. Many in Kyiv share his assessment. Ukrainian officials worry that the West’s rhetoric will not be matched by sustained support, and that time will work to Russia’s advantage. For both sides, the U.S. presidential election in 2024 looms large: with some leading contenders critical of ongoing military support for Ukraine, Washington’s long-term policy is uncertain.8

The United States and its allies recognize that they must develop an arrangement “on sustained security and other commitments”9 to help Ukraine defend itself in a protracted war, and during an even longer period of postwar economic reconstruction and military reconstitution. President Volodymyr Zelensky, for his part, contends that Russia’s aggression will not end and that peace, whenever it comes, will not be durable unless his country’s long-term security is guaranteed.10 At the same time, Western officials are hesitant to clarify what an arrangement might look like. Discussions have reportedly run aground amid disputes over the details.11 With the trajectory of the war uncertain, the reluctance to develop an enduring framework for Ukraine’s role in the European security order is understandable—but it is also shortsighted.

Western misgivings stem from a belief that it would be futile to think about a long-term security arrangement until the outcome of Ukraine’s counteroffensive, or even the war, is clear.12 U.S. officials describe a “window of opportunity” this year for Ukraine to advance on the battlefield, with some viewing it as Kyiv’s best chance to turn the tide of the war decisively in its favor.13 Many in the West expect a Ukrainian breakthrough would prompt Putin to come to the negotiating table on terms more favorable to Ukraine.14 Some, meanwhile, hope that a resounding military defeat for Russia would unleash even more radical changes that lead to a wholesale reversal of Kremlin policy toward Ukraine—and possibly Putin’s ouster.

This wait-and-see approach has led Ukraine and its partners to avoid tough conversations about the country’s long-term security in the hopes that an answer will reveal itself in time. Reinforcing this reluctance is the fact that there are competing theories about how a security arrangement would fit with various scenarios for how the war will end.

According to one line of thinking, a security plan for Ukraine should be held in reserve as a tool to facilitate peace talks.15 In other words, refraining from firm commitments now would allow the West to later deploy a security arrangement to prod Kyiv into accepting a negotiated settlement that falls short of its stated goal of liberating the country’s entire territory. At the same time, tying a security arrangement to peace talks would hold the prospect of bringing Russia into the conversation. Without Russian buy-in, the theory goes, no arrangement will endure.

However, waiting to define a security arrangement is likely to result in less room for maneuver, not more. Even a Ukrainian military success this year would be unlikely to end the war.16 Conditioning a security arrangement on peace talks that could still be years away would leave Ukraine in an untenable limbo and would delay important decisions about the structure of its future military force. On the other hand, if the Ukrainian counteroffensive is less successful, a hastily presented plan might look like a consolation prize. It is also not sensible to hope for the emergence of a “good tsar” who might reverse Russia’s course. Not only has Putin’s regime proven resilient in the face of military setbacks, but also the depth of Russian elite hostility toward Ukraine means that a true change in the Kremlin’s approach will require a national reckoning that is, at best, a distant prospect.

Some Western officials are reluctant to articulate a long-term vision also because they fear that doing so before Ukraine liberates all of its territory17 might force it into a premature peace that legitimizes Russia’s aggression and causes permanent partition.18 To be sure, the territorial issue will be challenging if the time comes for an armistice or peace settlement. But most measures discussed in this paper—training, equipping, and defense industrial solutions—can be codified into a long-term arrangement that neither depends on Ukraine regaining control over its entire territory nor precludes it. Security commitments would be active from the outset rather than triggered by a future Russian attack, making redundant the stipulation of boundaries within which the arrangement would apply.

A third school of thought centers on the notion that Ukraine will not be secure until it is in NATO and that any other security arrangement would undermine that goal.19 There are compelling moral and practical arguments in favor of admitting Ukraine into the alliance,20 but there is currently no consensus among the allies to do so.21 They have even indicated that membership will be at best a long-term prospect after the end of the war.22 An interim security arrangement would acknowledge this fact. It would also not prejudge a decision by the allies to admit Ukraine one day nor foreclose the possibility that both sides might decide to make this arrangement permanent. Either way, it would improve Ukraine’s interoperability with NATO in the meantime.23

In sum, the arguments in favor of delaying discussion on a security arrangement for Ukraine are not persuasive. Bringing clarity to the long-term vision now holds the prospect of diminishing Putin’s war optimism and persuading him that he is fighting a losing battle.24 It would also assure Ukraine of the West’s continued commitment to its sovereignty regardless of how the war develops. Some sort of Western-backed security arrangement will be a requirement for most foreign private companies to invest in reconstruction efforts in the years ahead.25 Finally, a multilateral security arrangement would drive down the cost of sustaining Ukraine’s military and spread the burden equitably among Ukraine’s partners through a predictable framework that emphasizes long-range planning, prioritization, standardization, and defense industrial solutions, including support to indigenous firms.

A Wartime Compact—and Beyond

Zelensky and numerous Ukrainian officials have suggested that Ukraine could replicate Israel’s security model with a capable army, a dynamic industrial base, a skillful intelligence apparatus, a strategic culture centered on self-defense, and a multifaceted relationship with the United States.26 A multilateral security arrangement for Ukraine based on this model is not a far-fetched idea, although there are important differences, not least of which is the fact that Israel, unlike Ukraine, has nuclear weapons and does not face aggression by a nuclear superpower.

The right formula for such a future security arrangement, as one European diplomat has said, “needs to be less than Article 5 but more than the Budapest Memorandum.”27 This might seem like a tough needle to thread, but the Kyiv Security Compact (KSC) that Ukraine’s government issued in September 2022 provides a helpful point of departure for discussions. It envisions a core group of partners committing to a “multi-decade effort” to support Ukraine’s development of a “robust territorial defense posture,” including by training and equipping its forces, investing in its defense industry, and enhancing its intelligence capabilities.28 The KSC is a change from previous Ukrainian requests that partners commit to sending troops or imposing a no-fly zone, both of which were nonstarters in the United States and Europe.

The United States and Europe must further develop this framework, incorporating lessons from the former’s relationship with Israel and other countries that are not its treaty allies. A credible arrangement should be based on the following five principles:

  • Strong political and legal codification that ensures the arrangement will endure regardless of electoral cycles and leadership changes in the United States and Europe
  • A predictable, multiyear pipeline for military supplies that enables Ukraine to plan and sustain a future force structure capable of deterring Russian aggression
  • Support for Ukraine’s defense industry, as well as targeted defense industrial investments in the United States and Europe to prepare for a long war and an extended period of Ukrainian military reconstitution
  • Mechanisms for political consultations, information sharing, and coordination to ensure that Ukraine’s military needs are met in a timely fashion
  • Clear linkage to Ukraine’s EU accession process and postwar reconstruction

Political and Legal Codification

Mindful of the Budapest Memorandum’s failure to prevent Russia’s aggression, Ukraine’s leaders insist that any new security arrangement be built on more solid political and legal footing.29 Thus, the KSC proposes that signatories make interlocking commitments to Ukraine, through a “joint strategic document” and a series of bilateral “legal and political commitments…both at the executive level of government and by the respective legislatures.” This structure may seem convoluted, but there is a logic to it. A “minilateral” framework document signed by Ukraine and a core group of its partners30 should assert the overarching goals and parameters of a security arrangement, much like formal defense treaties do.31 Signatories would then enumerate their specific commitments to Ukraine in separate bilateral documents. A framework text is not only symbolically important; it would also be a clear reference point for all subsequent defense cooperation activities and agreements between Ukraine and its partners.32 It would have a diplomatic multiplier effect as well, giving greater heft to the commitments than the sum of their parts.

The legal codification of these commitments is a thornier question, but it is necessary to ensure that they are enduring. A formal treaty would be the ideal outcome, but the KSC avoids setting the bar so high after Ukraine’s partners, especially the United States, expressed skepticism about the idea. Existing U.S. partnerships with non-treaty allies show that there is a wide range of other models to draw inspiration from. For example, there is no formal defense treaty between the United States and Israel but the U.S. commitment to Israeli security is governed by law. This includes the requirement to maintain Israel’s “qualitative military edge” (QME): the technological and tactical advantage to deter and, if necessary, defeat, a numerically superior adversary.33

The concept of QME dates from the Cold War, when NATO allies in Europe had to maintain a qualitative edge in their training and weapons systems in order to offset the Warsaw Pact’s quantitative advantages. It has been the framing for U.S. military aid to Israel since the 1973 Yom Kippur War. In 2008, Congress codified a definition for QME and required the executive branch to certify that any arms sales to Israel’s neighbors do not damage its QME.34 Successive administrations have described QME as the cornerstone of U.S. policy toward Israel and have used it to govern arms sales, training, and exercises.

Israel’s QME does not offer a perfect parallel to Ukraine’s case. True QME for Ukraine is impossible because, unlike Israel, it does not have nuclear weapons and its only relevant adversary is a nuclear superpower. Moreover, Washington does not sell weapons to any of Kyiv’s potential adversaries, and so the regional balancing effect of QME in Israel’s case is irrelevant to Ukraine’s. But Ukraine is a far larger country than Israel and can field a substantial, well-equipped, high-readiness deterrent force. The Ukrainian military is already demonstrating on the battlefield that it is capable of inflicting serious losses on an invading force.

If QME proves inapt, Ukraine and its partners might consider adopting a new term—for example, “qualitative deterrent balance”35—as a guiding star for long-term security assistance. Framework nations would commit to helping Ukraine match or offset Russian battlefield advantages with a mixture of superior equipment, training, and intelligence, as well as public-private solutions such as cooperation with Western technology firms. The exact term matters less than setting out a clear strategic vision with which Kyiv and its partners can align their activities over time and to remove any lingering doubts about the durability of the arrangement.

Critically, the strong bipartisan support for Israel’s QME provides continuity across administrations and largely insulates the relationship from changes in political leadership or party control in Washington. The dialogue between the executive and legislative branches on issues related to Israel’s security is not always smooth, and it probably would not be in Ukraine’s case either. But QME has gained a talismanic quality over time, ensuring stability and predictability regardless of which party controls the White House and Congress.

The United States’ commitment to Taiwan’s security offers another model of a legal framework that has survived political changes in Washington. It is codified in the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), which was adopted in 1979 to preserve unofficial relations with the island in the wake of the U.S. recognition of the People’s Republic of China. The TRA stipulates that Washington will provide Taipei with “defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.”36 The TRA is not a mutual defense treaty—in fact, it was adopted in part to offset the United States’ decision to abrogate the one dating from 1954 and to withdraw its forces from the island, two of Beijing’s conditions for establishing diplomatic relations with Washington.

Aspects of the Taiwan case are not applicable to Ukraine, such as the United States’ policy of “strategic ambiguity” as to whether it would intervene if the island were attacked. And, as with Israel’s case, the executive branch and Congress do not always see eye to eye on the details of this defense relationship. But the fact that the TRA has enjoyed strong bipartisan support for more than four decades and is a central pillar of U.S. policy shows the important role Congress can play in making a security commitment more credible and enduring.37

The Israel and Taiwan examples underscore the importance of a strong legal and political foundation. For Ukraine’s arrangement, each signatory must find its own way to signal domestic cross-party support and codify its commitments into law. This is an especially critical step for the United States to take ahead of the 2024 presidential election. Clarifying that U.S. support for Ukraine will continue no matter who wins the election would reduce Putin’s confidence that he can wait out the Biden administration, assure Ukraine that it will not be cast aside, and persuade Europe to increase its commitments. This will require the Biden administration to share ideas with, and solicit views from, leaders in Congress in order to build the broadest possible bipartisan coalition.

Multiyear Aid and Financing

If Ukraine is to have a robust deterrent force—the core of any security arrangement—it will need significant external support. A detailed analysis of its long-term force requirements is beyond the scope of this paper. Planning for the cost of Ukraine’s future force will depend on a variety of assumptions, the most important of which regards the state of the war.38 A protracted, high-intensity conflict would require Ukraine to field the largest, heaviest, highest-readiness force possible, whereas a prolonged ceasefire, armistice, or negotiated settlement would lessen some of the requirements. Other factors, such as the postwar state of Russia’s armed forces and the strength of multilateral security commitments,39 will also influence Ukraine’s future requirements.

At present, most of the planning assumptions entail significant uncertainties. But Ukraine’s backers can clarify a key one immediately: a stable, predictable multiyear framework for external military aid. The Israel model, again, offers a useful example.40 Since 1999, the United States and Israel have signed ten-year memoranda of understanding (MoUs) that lay out annual U.S. security assistance levels agreed by the two governments. The most recent one, signed in 2016, is valued at $38 billion, or $3.8 billion per year, a portion of which is devoted to missile defense programs.41 As executive-level agreements, the MoUs do not commit Congress to appropriate the funds. To date, however, it has largely adhered to the funding levels stipulated in them.42

A multiyear MoU for Ukraine would be a central pillar of a long-term security arrangement and would have advantages over the current crisis-driven funding approach. In addition to signaling enduring U.S. support, it would allow Kyiv to start planning its future force structure and making major acquisitions in anticipation of its postwar military reconstitution effort.43 Putting a price tag on a ten-year or even five-year aid program might seem like a political nonstarter, especially in the United States, where some members of Congress have criticized what they see as a “blank check” for Ukraine. But a multiyear MoU could mitigate that unease by setting out a vision for stable and predictable financing rather than relying on supplemental appropriations. What is more, there is already bipartisan interest in one.44

European and other countries would be likelier to make major multiyear pledges if they are confident of the United States’ commitment. Norway’s announcement in February of a five-year, $7-billion military and civilian aid package for Ukraine shows what such pledges could look like.45 To date, U.S. aid accounts for roughly 63 percent of the $70 billion in international military and security assistance pledged to Ukraine.46 Part of the reason the United States’ share eclipses that of Europe is the efficiency with which the Department of Defense can source and deliver emergency security assistance. Over time, a predictable multiyear framework could even out U.S. and European commitments, thus dampening criticism in the United States that the country is shouldering too much of the burden.47

In the case of the United States, Congress would decide whether to appropriate funds at the levels set out in any MoU and, most importantly, whether they are flexible enough for Ukraine to acquire major defense systems. Typically, Congress authorizes and appropriates security assistance for one or two years, and the executive branch must “obligate” the funding—decide how it will be spent—before it expires at the end of the relevant fiscal year. But due to the complexity of planning and contracting and the uncertainty of future appropriations, those compressed timelines have made it difficult for Ukrainian and U.S. officials to balance Ukraine’s urgent needs with longer-term ones.

Congress might consider authorizing and appropriating funds for multiyear use, as it has done for certain Ukraine-related aid.48 It might also consider offering Ukraine the use of “cash flow financing,” a statutory mechanism that allows Israel to pay for major arms purchases in installments using assumed future appropriations.49 Paired with a multiyear MoU, cash flow financing would allow Ukraine to acquire more expensive capabilities—such as U.S. fighter aircraft, air-defense systems, and modern armored vehicles—that would otherwise be difficult to buy with single-year funding amid other urgent priorities.50 Cash flow financing is not without controversy, however, because it creates future obligations to appropriate aid in order to honor contracts with U.S. firms signed in previous years.51

MoUs are flexible policy tools that would offer the opportunity for Ukraine to make its own commitment to the United States and partners too. They can include explicit expectations of Ukraine regarding things such as defense-sector reforms, transparency in contracting matters, and strict monitoring and accountability requirements. The Department of Defense’s Office of the Inspector General is already engaged in ensuring that all U.S. weapons sent to Ukraine reach their intended recipients.52 An MoU could strengthen this mechanism by requiring regular reporting by and consultations with the Ukrainian government. Enhanced end-use monitoring can help ensure that sensitive U.S. and allied technology does not fall into Russia’s hands or end up on the black market.

Defense Industry Ramp-Up

External military support has kept Ukraine in the fight longer than most analysts expected. But there is a dwindling supply of off-the-shelf weapons the United States and its allies can make available to it at present.53 Moreover, the scale and duration of the war has revealed shortfalls in the West’s defense industrial base as factories struggle to keep pace with staggering battlefield consumption rates.54 Production of some key inputs rests with a handful of small-scale providers that are hampered by outmoded production techniques or supply bottlenecks.

Mitigating these shortfalls has become a key priority for the United States and EU, but a broader industrial solution will be a necessary component of any security arrangement. Ukraine and its partners must be able to ramp up production of critical weapons systems and munitions to negate Russia’s current advantages, especially in artillery and air power. Clear and predictable multiyear funding in the context of a long-term security framework would help spur the targeted defense industrial investments needed to meet Ukraine’s future force requirements. Crucially, the country’s partners must find a way to help it rebuild its defense industrial base, which would diminish the external support it will need over the long haul. The EU should begin gradually integrating Ukraine into its defense industrial base and procurement mechanisms in the context of the country’s EU accession process.

At present, the EU defense industrial base is even less prepared than the U.S. one to sustain Ukraine in a long war. It is, as two analysts have described, fragmented into “more than 25 different Pentagons, each with its own national procurement.”55 The EU is taking steps to remedy the situation, but incentives for common procurement remain insufficient.56 In March, the EU member states and Norway reached a landmark deal to supply Ukraine with €1 billion’s worth of artillery ammunition within the following twelve months and to jointly procure a further €1 billion’s worth of shells after that.57 These are critical steps to offset Russia’s artillery advantage. But the joint-procurement element of the deal—a bellwether for the EU’s broader ability to harmonize and ramp up its defense industrial base—encountered immediate challenges as the member states argued about whether countries not party to the deal were eligible for contracts.58 They have agreed on a way forward, but the dispute presages trouble for future initiatives. Without large multiyear orders at the EU level, defense firms have warned that they cannot adequately scale up production, delaying future deliveries.59

Ukraine is also exploring creative ways to become more self-sufficient in weapons production. General Valeriy Zaluzhny, the head of the armed forces, has said that relying on partners for major systems will only be a “solution for [a] transition period” while the country reconstitutes its domestic arms manufacturing industry.60 Zelensky has stated this as a priority.61 Once a major producer of armaments within the Soviet Union, Ukraine’s defense industry suffered amid the economic turmoil of the 1990s and especially after the start of the Kremlin’s military aggression in 2014, when traditional supply chains linked to Russia were disrupted.62 Since last year, Russian strikes have damaged key plants and infrastructure. Some companies have moved their operations abroad.63 Chronic underfunding, corruption, and poor management also have hampered the industry’s development.64

Ukraine’s indigenous research, development, and manufacturing capabilities have significant potential to help meet the country’s long-term requirements. The invasion has prompted firms to suspend export contracts—historically the bulk of their business—in order to fulfill domestic orders. Kyiv is understandably tight-lipped about the details, but evidence from the battlefield suggests domestic firms are already making important contributions to sustaining the military by repairing damaged equipment and producing new systems and munitions.

Ukraine has begun serial production of artillery ammunition at locations across the country.65 Co-production agreements reached with multiple NATO countries also allow it to produce critical munitions abroad, some of which are now reportedly reaching the front lines.66 Ukrainian firms have fielded new systems, including the missile that sank the Russian flagship Moskva last April. A spokesperson for Ukraine’s state arms manufacturer claimed that it delivered seven times more equipment to the military in the first nine months of 2022 than it had in the entire previous year.67 Last November, Ukraine invoked martial law to seize the assets of several defense firms, a step officials said was necessary to ramp up production.68

In a long-term security arrangement, the United States and its allies must make commitments to support Ukraine’s indigenous manufacturing capabilities, without which Kyiv will be unable to sustain a robust deterrent force over the long haul. Some of that work has already begun. U.S. officials have noted ongoing efforts to build “sustainment capacity in Ukraine” and to standardize long-term requirements, which will help integrate domestic manufacturing into the transatlantic supply chain.69 In May, German arms giant Rheinmetall and Ukraine’s state defense conglomerate announced that they had signed a strategic cooperation agreement to build and repair German armored vehicles inside Ukraine, with the potential to jointly develop new systems in the future.70 A Turkish defense firm is also considering building a drone production facility in Ukraine.71

Ukraine’s partners will have to consider what portion, if any, of their future security aid it will be able to spend on indigenous production. It might seem advantageous to condition future aid on “buy American” or “buy European” provisions, but failing to help Kyiv get its defense industry back on its feet will only prolong and raise the cost of the support it will need from its allies. Here too, Israel offers a useful model. In the 1980s, the United States began permitting the country to use a share of its aid to buy arms from domestic firms, with the goal of building a self-sustaining defense industry.72 This feature, known as offshore procurement (OSP), helped Israel’s defense industry grow into one of the world’s most vibrant: Israeli companies now routinely export niche military technology to the United States and collaborate on research and development with U.S. firms. OSP was so successful in achieving this goal that the United States began to phase it out in the latest ten-year MoU.

For a model like this to work in Ukraine, Kyiv will need to reform its defense industry and introduce transparent corporate governance practices and effective oversight. The government is reportedly moving ahead with a reform plan aimed at combating corruption in the industry, but it remains to be seen whether the changes will take hold.73 Still, Ukraine has enormous capacity for technological innovation, as shown by its creative employment of Western weapons and development of homegrown software and systems that its forces use in battle.74 Ukrainian officials and entrepreneurs hope to foster this wartime innovation to create a dynamic technology sector, as Israel has done.75

Consultations, Coordination, and Information Sharing

Regular consultations at all levels between Ukraine and its partners will be critical to the long-term health of a security arrangement. For example, the dense network of relationships among NATO allies—forged through frequent interactions among leaders, ministers, ambassadors, and various officials—builds and sustains trust, helping them craft common threat assessments, coordinate policy responses, and plan for contingencies. The United States has similar consultative mechanisms with other treaty allies, such as Japan and South Korea, as well as with close security partners, such as Israel, Egypt, and Taiwan.

Ukraine and framework signatories should create a standing body of representatives modeled after NATO’s North Atlantic Council. This steering group should have the authority to conduct oversight of the arrangement and ensure that all parties are meeting their obligations.76 Ukraine must have the right to seek immediate consultations with other parties to the agreement if it perceives a threat, as NATO allies can do under Article 4. The parties could then decide to surge emergency aid and take other measures to help Ukraine eliminate the threat.

The steering committee could preside over a web of working groups consisting of Ukrainian and partner-country defense policy officials, planners, and procurement specialists.77 These groups would conduct long-range capabilities planning; ensure the timely sourcing and delivery of equipment and training; and develop recommendations on acquisitions, standardization, and defense industrial issues. As Ukraine decides which major weapons systems to acquire, a multinational coordination body will be critical for refereeing among the country’s partners, whose defense firms will be competing for lucrative contracts.

This bureaucracy would not be difficult to set up. It can be built on the basis of the successful multinational coordination mechanisms the United States and its allies established after Russia launched its full-scale invasion. Over the past year, the defense ministers and military chiefs of more than fifty countries forming the Ukraine Defense Contact Group (also known as the Ramstein Group) have gathered a dozen times under U.S. leadership, virtually and in person, to assess Ukraine’s needs and to coordinate the provision of weapons.78 This high-level pledging mechanism is complemented by the International Donor Coordination Center (IDCC), a multinational U.K.-led team that includes military personnel from more than two dozen countries as well as embedded Ukrainian officers.79 The IDCC, based at a U.S. army base in Wiesbaden, Germany, matches requests from Ukraine’s military with donor stocks and coordinates the delivery of equipment. This mediating role is critical: in response to any request from Ukraine, the IDCC needs to identify a source for the weapons system, training, maintenance, ammunition, and transportation to the Ukrainian border—each of which might be fulfilled by different partner countries.

The ad hoc nature of the surge of military supplies to date has meant that Ukraine is fielding many different types of equipment, each requiring its set of specialists to conduct training, maintenance, and repairs. U.S. and European officials recognize that this is unsustainable and are working to remedy it.80 In November 2022, the U.S. European Command established a “dedicated headquarters element” known as the Security Assistance Group-Ukraine (SAG-U) charged with long-term coordination.81 Located alongside the IDCC in Wiesbaden and staffed with several hundred personnel under the leadership of a three-star U.S. general, it is supposed take over many of the IDCC’s functions.82 The Department of Defense envisions it as part of a transition from crisis management mode to a more “enduring capability” to support Ukraine.83 The SAG-U can play a critical role in a security arrangement for Ukraine.84 It should be co-led with Europe—or, at a minimum, be closely linked to a similar European body. It must have a mandate to conduct long-range capability planning with the Ukrainian General Staff and should focus on standardizing the systems and munitions Ukraine uses, with the goal of interoperability with NATO. The SAG-U should also build Ukraine’s capacity to train its own forces.

In addition to defense and political consultations, intelligence sharing will play a large role in a security arrangement. In the fall of 2021, U.S. intelligence provided Ukraine and allied countries with what Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns described as “accurate and precise insights and information” about Russia’s plans for a full-scale attack.85 Since the full-scale invasion began, the United States has shared “significant, timely intelligence with Ukraine to help defend them from Russian aggression.”86 While the details of this cooperation remain classified, it is clear that Ukraine has benefited a great deal from allied intelligence, as strategic warning and on the battlefield. It will require similar support to defend itself over the long haul.

Some might fear that a Ukraine that is enmeshed in a U.S.-backed security arrangement will feel free to engage in provocative behavior toward Russia, hoping to collectivize the risks as it settles scores. This concern should not be dismissed, especially in light of reports of bold operations against targets in Russia.87 (Kyiv would be justified in conducting attacks on military and logistics infrastructure on Russian soil, even if certain types of operations might not necessarily be wise.) Ukraine and its backers will never have interests that overlap entirely—even if they were to become treaty allies. But a security arrangement—with its constant consultations, information sharing, and threat assessments—would help avoid misunderstandings among them and encourage transparent decisionmaking. This alliance-like trust, along with Kyiv’s increasing confidence in its own security, would likely curb, rather than embolden, risk-taking.

The EU and Reconstruction

A multilateral security arrangement must be clearly linked to Ukraine’s EU accession process.88 The country’s eventual membership in the union would provide a security guarantee of its own. The EU’s mutual defense pledge, codified in Article 42.7 of the Treaty on European Union, is often dismissed as inferior to NATO’s Article 5 because it is not a U.S.-backed guarantee. But that is the wrong way to think about it. Putin or a successor would be highly unlikely to attack the EU even if Ukraine were a member. The political and economic consequences of doing so would be far more severe than those Russia has suffered since February 2022. Moreover, because most EU member states are also in NATO, a leader in the Kremlin would have to worry that an attack on the union might end up drawing the alliance, and thus the United States, into a direct conflict that Russia could not win.

Last June, Ukraine received official EU candidate status. A date for the opening of formal accession talks has yet to be set, with Brussels and powerful member states reluctant to speed up the normal application process.89 But the EU would risk little if it started talks immediately. After all, Ukraine would still need to align its laws with those of the union before it could join. Moreover, starting talks would provide it with a powerful incentive for reforms. That incentive will be reinforced by Kyiv’s desire to attract private-sector investment in postwar reconstruction. Those two factors—the prospect of EU membership and the need to rebuild the economy—are likely to create greater reform momentum than Ukraine has had in its entire postindependence history.

The EU should think creatively about the steps it can take to enhance Ukraine’s security and integration in the period before membership, and in particular to facilitate reconstruction. Various proposals have been floated for a staged accession process in which candidate countries would gain greater access to EU decision-making structures and resources as they meet various benchmarks, rather than the current “in or out” binary.90 The EU could also give Ukraine early access to defense research and development initiatives and build upon the country’s munitions co-production arrangements with various European countries to further integrate its defense industrial base with the rest of Europe.91 Steps like these would buttress a multilateral security arrangement and signal to Russia that Europe is preparing for the long haul.

The EU or a European-led coalition of the willing might also consider military missions with limited mandates,92 aimed at reinforcing Ukraine’s security during the postwar period while it waits for membership. For example, the EU could deploy a monitoring mission along Ukraine’s border with Belarus and whatever parts of the border with Russia are uncontested once large-scale hostilities end. In essence, this would be a larger, armed version of the mission the EU has run in Georgia since that country’s 2008 war with Russia.

The EU or a coalition of the willing would also be well-placed to deploy a demining and maritime security mission93 to police and protect Ukraine’s Black Sea export corridors.94 Europe has an interest in facilitating Ukraine’s sea-based exports, not only to help restart its economy but also in light of recent tensions over land-based exports of agricultural goods.95 A Black Sea mission would have to be closely coordinated with Türkiye and consistent with the Montreux Convention, which regulates maritime traffic through the Turkish Straits.

A more ambitious option would be a European-led military mission aimed at facilitating Ukraine’s economic recovery and reconstruction. A Reconstruction Security Force could involve troops from EU countries or from an ad hoc coalition deploying jointly with Ukrainian forces to special industrial zones designated by the government. These zones should be far from the front lines to minimize security threats and to signal to Russia that the mission is not aimed at supporting any potential Ukrainian military action. Armed with air defense and early-warning systems, the force would have a mandate to protect areas of concentrated economic activity, including reconstruction projects involving European and G7 companies, from air and missile attacks. Many foreign private companies are reluctant to invest in Ukraine’s reconstruction because of security concerns. A Reconstruction Security Force, if paired with sovereign-backed war insurance to indemnify large projects,96 could go a long way toward giving them the confidence to do so.

Some might worry that the deployment of Western troops to Ukraine in the context of reconstruction would risk escalation with Russia. These concerns should not be taken lightly. But some of the risks can be mitigated by placing any potential missions under European, rather than U.S., leadership, and by clearly messaging their limited mandate.

The EU or a European-led coalition would certainly look to the United States for intelligence, logistical support, and political backing for missions like these. If designed with limited, purposeful mandates, they would have the potential to win a broad cross-section of support in Europe. They would appeal to Ukraine’s closest backers in Central and Northern Europe as a strong signal of solidarity while advancing the ambition of France and other member states to enhance the EU’s strategic autonomy. Moreover, the EU would benefit from providing security for Ukraine’s economic recovery: faster reconstruction and greater private investment would likely reduce Ukraine’s dependence on EU aid over the long haul and spur a larger return of Ukrainian refugees.

Russia and the Postwar Order

Skeptics might argue that no security arrangement with Ukraine will work unless Russia is part of it. In theory, Moscow would be able to challenge any arrangement: it will retain the ability to strike targets in Ukraine or initiate offensive military action against it at any time. But therein lies the benefit of the deterrence by denial strategy proposed in this paper: by making unambiguous political and legal commitments to train and equip Ukraine’s military over the long haul, the country’s partners can raise the cost of aggression to such a point that Russia loses confidence in its ability to achieve its objectives there by military force.

Ukraine’s security relationship with the United States and Europe must not be negotiated with Moscow. But a long-term security arrangement need not prejudice potential future confidence-building measures. Before the 2022 invasion, for example, the United States and its allies proposed to Russia that they would commit not to deploy offensive ground-based missile systems or station permanent combat forces in Ukraine.97 Moscow rejected these proposals as insufficient and invaded anyway. But that does not mean the ideas should be abandoned.

One day, Russia’s leaders might be willing to discuss European security in a less confrontational manner. At that point, proposals on confidence-building measures should be developed jointly by the United States, Europe, and Ukraine to ensure they do not damage the latter’s security. In the distant future, Russia might even decide to reengage in arms-control talks. The political framework and consultative mechanisms proposed in this paper would allow Ukraine and the West to coordinate their positions and approach Moscow from a position of unity and strength. In addition, by sidestepping the rigid binary between NATO membership and nonmembership, the proposed arrangement would have the potential to expand the options available to other countries that seek greater security but, for whatever reason, cannot or do not wish to enter into a formal defense treaty with the United States.98


The security arrangement outlined in this paper can be seen as a piece of scaffolding. The framework agreement signed by Ukraine and its partners would be the load-bearing base plate, providing the principles underpinning the arrangement. The bilateral MoUs and other country-specific commitments on training, equipping, and defense industrial cooperation would be the vertical poles keeping the scaffolding upright. Steps by each signatory to legally codify these pledges would be the horizontal poles stabilizing the scaffolding. And the day-to-day management of the arrangement through planning, exercises, consultations, information sharing, and joint threat assessments would be the scaffolding platforms making the structure usable. EU integration should bind the respective commitments to a more solid edifice, even though Ukraine still has a long road ahead to membership. Ultimately, like scaffolding, the security arrangement would be a temporary structure. It could be removed as soon as it has outlived its purpose; that is, once Ukraine is a member of the EU and, perhaps, NATO.

The architects of such an arrangement must bear in mind the lessons of repeated past failures to guarantee Ukraine’s security. The 1994 Budapest Memorandum is the prime example of a model not to be repeated: it was too vague to be taken seriously by Russia and relied on its goodwill, with no enforcement mechanism. But Ukraine also missed the chance over the next two decades to build a modern army. When Russian forces moved into Crimea in February 2014 after the Revolution of Dignity, the country’s new leaders had to confront the reality that the country had only 5,000 combat-ready troops.99 Ukraine has taken a far more serious approach to its national defense since then, and especially since last year, but it must never again allow its military to fall into neglect, no matter the external security commitments it receives.

Ukraine’s experience in negotiating with Russia in the early days of the full-scale invasion has colored the way it approaches future security arrangements. In March 2022, Kyiv offered to declare military neutrality in exchange for the withdrawal of Russian troops and security guarantees from the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.100 This was a serious attempt to negotiate, aiming to resolve what Putin had claimed was one of his primary war objectives: blocking Ukraine’s NATO membership. But Putin’s excessive demands were unacceptable to Ukraine,101 especially after it discovered evidence of mass atrocities perpetrated by Russian troops in the Kyiv suburbs. In light of Putin’s imperialistic rhetoric and move to annex large swaths of Ukrainian territory last fall,102 Ukraine now scorns the ideas of neutrality and of a security framework involving Russia.

The EU must not repeat NATO’s mistake of giving Ukraine the hope of eventual membership without a concrete plan and timetable to make it happen. At the Bucharest Summit in 2008, the allies promised that Ukraine (and Georgia), which wanted a formal Membership Action Plan, would eventually join NATO, a compromise solution borne of the fact that the allies—and Ukrainians themselves—were deeply divided on the issue. Since 2014, the queries of Ukrainian officials about the status of the Bucharest declaration have been met with noncommittal responses from the allies.103 The EU must take a different course: it must back up Ukraine’s candidate status with genuine progress toward membership.

The post–Cold War order is over, but what comes next is by no means certain. One thing is clear, however: no matter how the war ends, Ukraine will be central to Europe’s security for decades. The search for a solution cannot wait for the war to end. There is a great deal Kyiv and its partners can do now to lock in a future security arrangement that bridges the period until the country gains formal security guarantees as part of Western institutions. As Ukrainians continue to fight for their freedom, preparing for the long haul is a no less urgent task.


The author would like to thank Phyllis Berry, Sophia Besch, Chris Bort, Matt Duss, Sean Eriksen, Eric Green, Isaac Kardon, Jennifer Kavanagh, Pavlo Klimkin, Charlie Kupchan, Jon Massicot, Aaron David Miller, Andrew Miller, Eugene Rumer, Pete Schroeder, Kateryna Shynkaruk, Andrew Weiss, Stephen Wertheim, Gavin Wilde, and Geoff Wright for their insightful comments on a draft of this paper. Many conversations with Ukrainian, European, and U.S. officials and nongovernmental experts informed the conclusions. All views expressed are the responsibility of the author alone.


1 See, for example, Michael Mazarr, “Understanding Deterrence,” RAND, 2018, Mazarr defines “deterrence by denial” strategies as those that “seek to deter an action by making it infeasible or unlikely to succeed, thus denying a potential aggressor confidence in attaining its objectives.” Denial strategies contrast with “deterrence by punishment” strategies, which threaten wider penalties if an attack occurs. Mazarr notes that denial strategies tend to be more reliable than punishment strategies because would-be aggressors might doubt the credibility of a threat to impose a future penalty. For the United States and Europe, the deterrence model described in this paper is “extended,” vice “direct,” insofar as they would seek to deter Russian aggression by arming Ukraine rather than by using their own forces.

2 Ukraine has long sought security “guarantees,” but the United States has avoided the term, seeing it as tantamount to a pledge to put U.S. boots on the ground. The term “assurances,” on the other hand, recalls the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, which failed to deter Russian aggression. In that document, the United States, Russia, and the United Kingdom—and China and France in separate agreements—provided largely “negative” assurances (that is, that they would not attack or coerce Ukraine) in exchange for its willingness to surrender the vast quantity of nuclear weapons left on its territory after the Soviet Union’s collapse. The only “positive” assurance was a pledge to seek U.N. Security Council action to assist Ukraine if it was attacked. At the time, the negotiators understood that the assurances were limited, even though the Ukrainian-language and Russian-language versions of the text used the respective words for guarantee. “Memorandum on security assurances in connection with Ukraine’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,” December 5, 1994, For more on the negotiations that led to Budapest, see Steven Pifer, “The Trilateral Process: The United States, Ukraine, Russia and Nuclear Weapons,” Brookings, May 2011, and Mykhailo Soldatenko, “Constructive Ambiguity of the Budapest Memorandum at 28: Making Sense of the Controversial Agreement,” Lawfare, February 7, 2023,

3 Jeff Mason, “Biden Says Putting U.S. Troops on Ground in Ukraine Is ‘Not on the Table,’” Reuters, December 8, 2021,

4 Michael Kofman and Rob Lee, “Beyond Ukraine’s Offensive,” Foreign Affairs, May 10, 2023, and Christina Arabia, Andrew Bowen, and Cory Welt, “U.S. Security Assistance to Ukraine,” Congressional Research Service, updated February 27, 2023,

5 Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Andriy Yermak, “The Kyiv Security Compact—International Security Guarantees for Ukraine: Recommendations,” September 13, 2022,

6 “National Security Strategy,” White House, October 2022,

7 See, for example, “G7 Leaders’ Statement,” White House, February 24, 2023,

8 Meg Kinnard, “Divide on Ukraine support emerges in early 2024 GOP field,” Associated Press, March 14, 2023,

9 “G7 Leaders’ Statement,” White House. See also Alexander Ward, Paul McLeary, and Matt Berg, “What Jake Sullivan privately said about the war,” Politico, February 24, 2023,; Bojan Pancevski and Laurence Norman, “NATO’s Biggest European Members Float Defense Pact With Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, February 24, 2023,; Kitty Donaldson, “Sunak Says NATO Should Make Ukraine Security Pledge by July,” Bloomberg, February 18, 2023,; and Agence France-Presse, “Western allies discussing ‘security guarantees’ with Kyiv: Scholz,” France 24, March 2, 2023,

10 Volodymyr Zelensky, interview with the Economist, December 15, 2022,; and Zelensky, “Speech by the President of Ukraine at the General Debate of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly,” President of Ukraine, September 22, 2022,

11 Lili Bayer, “Confusion reigns when West talks postwar safety for Ukraine,” Politico, February 23, 2023,

12 Agence France-Presse, “Western allies discussing,” and Department of State, “Secretary Antony J. Blinken at a Press Availability,” NATO Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium, April 5, 2023,

13 “Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Hold a Press Conference Following the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, Brussels, Belgium,” Department of Defense, February 14, 2023,; “Senior Defense Official Holds a Background Briefing on Ukraine,” Department of Defense, April 4, 2023,; and Yasmeen Abutaleb and John Hudson, “U.S. warns Ukraine it faces a pivotal moment in war,” Washington Post, February 13, 2023,

14 Aletha Adu, “War will end at negotiating table with Ukraine in ‘best place,’ Sunak says,” Guardian, March 10, 2023,; John Irish, “Time for more Ukraine support, not Russia dialogue, Macron says,” Reuters, February 17, 2023,; Radio Svoboda, “Khotily by bachyty Ukrayinu, yaka zdatna vidkynuty soldativ Putina.” Eksklyusyv iz gensekretarem NATO” [We would like to see Ukraine capable of expelling Putin’s soldiers: exclusive interview with NATO Secretary-General], April 4, 2023,

15 The insights in this section are derived from the author’s conversations with more than a dozen U.S., European, and Ukrainian officials between February and May 2023.

16 Kofman and Lee, “Beyond Ukraine’s Offensive.”

17 Historical parallels are often drawn with West Germany and South Korea: both countries accepted a de facto territorial partition when they received U.S. security guarantees. In the case of West Germany, it pledged at the 1954 Nine-Power Conference in London never to resort to force to achieve the reunification of Germany as a condition for its membership in NATO, which it entered the following year. See “Final Act of the London Conference,” NATO, October 3, 1954,

18 Officials in this camp also worry that Russia will retain a permanent chokehold on the Ukrainian economy unless its forces are pushed out of southern Ukraine, away from sea-based export routes and Ukraine’s industrial and agricultural heartland. As a result, they want to defer long-term discussions until Kyiv has a “better map” to work with.

19 David Brennan, “Only NATO or Nukes Can Save Ukraine From Russia: Estonia Foreign Minister,” Newsweek, March 2, 2023,

20 Ukraine now boasts one of Europe’s most combat-capable militaries and would undoubtedly be an important contributor to NATO. What is more, Putin himself has proven the deterrent power of NATO by avoiding targeting its territory despite his numerous warnings. Most Ukrainians also firmly support joining the alliance and are skeptical of other security arrangements. For detailed analysis of some of the arguments in favor of Ukraine’s admission to NATO, see Dmytro Kuleba, “Why NATO Must Admit Ukraine,” Foreign Affairs, April 25, 2023,; Daniel Fried, “To Secure Peace in Europe, Bring Ukraine into NATO,” Just Security, March 13, 2023,; and Sergey Radchenko, “It’s time to talk about NATO membership for Ukraine,” Spectator, February 4, 2023,; and International Republican Institute, “IRI Ukraine Poll Shows Strong Confidence in President Zelensky, a Surge in Support for NATO Membership, Russia Should Pay for Reconstruction,” March 22, 2023,

21 Henry Foy and Felicia Schwartz, “US opposes offering Ukraine a road map to NATO membership,” Financial Times, April 6, 2023, and Lili Bayer, “NATO treads fine line on Ukraine membership,” Politico, April 4, 2023,

22 “Statement by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with the Prime Minister of Finland, Sanna Marin,” NATO, February 28, 2023,

23 In April 2023, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that the alliance was working on a “multi-year support initiative for Ukraine” that will help the country transition to NATO-standard equipment and doctrine. NATO officials should aim high with this initiative, perhaps modeling it after the EU-Ukraine Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, which provided a long-term framework for Kyiv to implement key economic and legal reforms in exchange for increasing access to EU markets. This initiative might also be paired with a decision to upgrade the NATO-Ukraine Commission to a NATO-Ukraine Council, involving Kyiv to a greater extent in alliance consultations. See “Speech by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the International Summit of Cities and Regions in Kyiv, Ukraine,” NATO, April 20, 2023,

24 Samuel Charap and Miranda Priebe, “Avoiding a Long War: U.S. Policy and the Trajectory of the Russia-Ukraine Conflict,” RAND Corporation, January 2023,

25 See, for example, Daniel Fata and Janina Staguhn, “Thinking Through Security and Coordination Aspects Needed for Ukraine’s Reconstruction,” Center for Strategic & International Studies, September 15, 2022,

26 Tovah Lazaroff, “Zelensky: Ukraine will be like Israel, not demilitarized like Switzerland after war,” Jerusalem Post, April 5, 2022, and Tom Balforth and Max Hunder, “War spurs Ukraine to ramp up defense industry, including ‘army of drones,’” Reuters, November 11, 2022,

27 Amy Mackinnon and Robbie Gramer, “Ukraine Wants to Be NATO’s Friend—With Benefits,” Foreign Policy, October 10, 2022,

28 Rasmussen and Yermak, “The Kyiv Security Compact.”

29 In the early 1990s, Ukraine sought to negotiate a legally binding security guarantee in exchange for surrendering the nuclear weapons left on its territory after the Soviet collapse. For the early history of Ukraine’s search for a security arrangement with the West, see Roman Solchanyk, “Russia, Ukraine, and the Imperial Legacy,” Post-Soviet Affairs 9, no. 4(1993), For an in-depth treatment of Ukraine’s nuclear disarmament process, see Mariana Budjeryn, Inheriting the Bomb: The Collapse of the USSR and the Nuclear Disarmament of Ukraine, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2022.

30 Choosing which countries to bring into the negotiations about the framework text will not be easy, but it will be important not to have an overly broad coalition that might produce a “least common denominator” set of commitments. At a minimum, the core group of signatories should include France, Germany, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, which together have provided the bulk of military aid to Ukraine. Türkiye should also be invited to the talks; although its support for Ukraine has been more ambiguous, it has the potential to play a major role in securing the Black Sea and supporting Ukraine’s defense industry. Other countries could sign onto the framework once the text is agreed. Importantly, this text must be negotiated outside of a NATO and EU context in order to avoid subjecting it to cumbersome decision-making processes and the possibility of a single country vetoing it.

31 For example, the North Atlantic Treaty of 1949—little more than a thousand words long—is the foundational text around which all of the alliance’s activities are structured. Article 5 is seen as the gold standard for military alliances, but its succinct formulation merely commits each member to respond to an attack on another with “such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force.” The treaty text does not provide a blueprint for how to operationalize the alliance. Instead, the allies make specific commitments to one another through regular consultations and multilateral political documents, such as ministerial and summit communiqués; through bilateral intergovernmental agreements on training, exercises, arms sales, military education, defense industrial cooperation, intelligence sharing, the status of forces, and so on; and, in many cases, through provisions in their own domestic laws that regulate various aspects of the alliance.

32 Ukraine is already making progress in persuading its partners to signal their long-term support clearly and in writing, along the lines of what the KSC proposes. During his tour of European capitals in May 2023, Zelensky signed a series of joint declarations with his Belgian, Dutch, French, German, and Italian counterparts that committed them to continuing their long-term military support for Ukraine, both individually and through multilateral formats. The text of these declarations could form the basis of the kind of joint strategic document Kyiv has in mind.

33 Jeremy Sharp, “U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel,” Congressional Research Service, updated March 1, 2023,

34 QME is defined in the Arms Export Control Act as: “the ability to counter and defeat any credible conventional military threat from any individual state or possible coalition of states or from non-state actors, while sustaining minimal damages and casualties, through the use of superior military means, possessed in sufficient quantity, including weapons, command, control, communication, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities that in their technical characteristics are superior in capability to those of such other individual or possible coalition of states or non-state actors” (22 USC § 2776(h)(3)).

35 For example, to create qualitative balance in air power—an area where Russia has a clear advantage—Ukraine would not have to maintain a large, costly air force. Instead, Kyiv’s partners could ensure that it was capable of defending its skies through robust layered and integrated ground-based air defenses, a moderately sized fourth-generation air force, and capabilities to hold strategic military targets inside Russia at risk, such as long-range unmanned aerial vehicles. (A “match” is a comparable capability, whereas an “offset” is a different capability that can have a similar strategic effect.)

36 “Taiwan Relations Act,” April 10, 1979,

37 Shirley A. Kan and Wayne M. Morrison, “U.S.-Taiwan Relationship: Overview of Policy Issues,” Congressional Research Service, December 11, 2014,; Dennis Van Vranken Hickey, “The Taiwan Relations Act: A Mid-Life Crisis at 35?,” Wilson Center, March 2014,; and Vincent Wei-Cheng Wang, “The Taiwan Relations Act at 40: New Dynamics of an Enduring Framework,” Foreign Policy Research Institute, April 8, 2019,

38 Developing cost models is a complicated undertaking even when planners have a clear sense of what a future force will look like. In Ukraine’s case, uncertainty about the future makes this task even harder. One can think about the cost of a future Ukrainian force in three distinct phases. First, as long as high-intensity combat continues, long-term rearmament will have to be balanced against acute battlefield needs, requiring tradeoffs that are likely to increase costs. Second, during a cease-fire or armistice, Ukraine and its partners will be able to focus on reconstitution, upgrading systems, and replenishing stocks. Finally, once Ukraine’s force is fully modernized and equipped, the costs of sustaining it will level off. For a sense of the scale of future costs, one can consider current spending levels as the ceiling. Ukraine’s military expenditures in 2022 reached $44 billion, on top of which its partners committed roughly $70 billion in military and security assistance as of February 2023, although not all of it was for immediate needs. Footing such a bill over the long run is not feasible for Ukraine’s partners: the price tag would approach a trillion dollars over a decade. On the other hand, one can look to Poland, which has a similar population and threat environment to those of Ukraine, for a rough estimate of what sustaining a modern, well-trained Ukrainian force in peacetime might cost. The interim reconstitution phase will be a multiyear endeavor, the cost of which will end up somewhere between peacetime sustainment and the extraordinary spending that has kept Ukraine in the fight to date. For more on wartime spending by Ukraine and its partners, see Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), “World military expenditure reaches new record high as European spending surges,” April 24, 2023, and “Ukraine Support Tracker,” Kiel Institute for World Economy, updated February 24, 2023,

39 A legally enshrined set of security commitments, including through EU membership and its accompanying security pledge (see later section), probably would reduce some of Ukraine’s force requirements insofar as this would have its own deterrent effect. Still, Ukraine under any scenario will have to assume that it will need to be capable of defending the country on its own.

40 Sharp, “U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel.”

41 “Memorandum of Understanding,” Department of State, September 14, 2016, The 1999 agreement was the first to lay out specific funding levels over a set period. An earlier U.S.-Israeli memorandum signed in 1975, two years after the Yom Kippur War and concurrently with the Israeli-Egyptian interim agreement on Sinai, committed the United States to provide military aid to Israel on “an ongoing and long-term basis,” including “advanced and sophisticated weapons.” Washington also pledged to “view with particular gravity threats to Israel’s security or sovereignty by a world power” and agreed to develop a “contingency plan for a military supply operation to Israel in an emergency situation.” Elements of this memorandum might also prove appropriate to Ukraine’s case. See “Israel-United States Memorandum of Understanding, 1975,” Jewish Virtual Library, accessed June 5, 2023,

42 While the 2016 MoU did not mention QME, the White House’s press release did, as did a bipartisan House of Representatives resolution in support. See “Memorandum of Understanding Reached with Israel,” White House, September 14, 2016, and United States House of Representatives, “H.Res.729 - Expressing support for the expeditious consideration and finalization of a new, robust, and long-term Memorandum of Understanding on military assistance to Israel between the United States Government and the Government of Israel,” September 13, 2016,

43 The share of long-term force requirements that Ukraine will be able to finance itself remains uncertain and will depend on the speed and scale of economic recovery and reconstruction. The current extraordinary levels of defense spending—$44 billion in 2022, which amounted to 34 percent of GDP—will undoubtedly diminish. The government will face pressure to spend more on reconstruction and social welfare, especially considering the surge in poverty since the invasion. At the same time, Kyiv’s conviction that it can never fully rely on external partners is likely to drive continued domestic investment in defense, reducing concerns about potential free riding. See SIPRI, “World military expenditure.” 

44 Congressman Jared Golden, “Bipartisan Veterans Call for Long-Term Security Assistance MOU with Ukraine,” September 19, 2022,

45 “Broad political agreement on multi-year support programme for Ukraine,” Government of Norway, February 16, 2023, Norway has pledged to provide Ukraine $1.5 billion in aid per year over a five-year period; half of that will be devoted to military support in the first year, and the share of military-to-civilian support will be reassessed each year.

46 “Ukraine Support Tracker,” Kiel Institute for World Economy.

47 Financial and humanitarian contributions, including the costs of supporting refugees, must also be considered when estimating the U.S. and European shares of the burden of supporting Ukraine. The arrangement envisioned here focuses on military and security commitments, but the proposed mechanisms for coordination and consultation could be applied to nonmilitary aid as well.

48 In fiscal year 2023, Congress made available certain funds within the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative through the end of fiscal year 2024, allowing the executive branch a two-year window in which to obligate the money. Funding for new acquisition contracts often takes many more years to spend. For a helpful explainer, see Mark F. Cancian, “Aid to Ukraine Explained in Six Charts,” Center for Strategic & International Studies, November 18, 2022,

49 Sharp, “U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel.”

50 Israel’s MoU is unique in many ways, one of which is that the United States deposits the lump sum of its annual security assistance allotment at the start of each year into an account managed by the Israeli government, which can then spend the funds as it sees fit. In Ukraine’s case, the United States and its partners should design MoUs that ensure they can provide input to, and conduct oversight of, procurement activities. This is not only because of valid concerns about Kyiv’s mixed historical record on defense sector transparency—they will also want to be certain that Ukraine is spending wisely, and not on expensive capabilities of little practical value.

51 Historically, the United States also allowed Egypt to use the cash flow financing mechanism for large purchases. The Obama administration moved to end Cairo’s access to this benefit out of a concern that it had misused it and racked up billions of dollars in debt. See, for example, Jeremy Sharp, “Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations,” Congressional Research Service, updated May 2, 2023, and Ernesto Londoño and Holly Yeager, “In debate over military aid to Egypt, contractual issues loom large for U.S.,” Washington Post, July 25, 2013,

52 David Vergun, “Defense Officials: U.S. Ensures Accountability of Systems Supplied to Ukraine,” Department of Defense News, February 28, 2023,

53 To date, the United States has sent more than $20 billion worth of equipment to Ukraine through the Presidential Drawdown Authority, an emergency provision that allows drawing from existing stocks. Other funding mechanisms, such as Foreign Military Financing and the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, allow for orders to be placed with U.S. manufacturers for future production, as well as for Washington to compensate third countries for aid they send to Ukraine.

54 Seth G. Jones, “Empty Bins in a Wartime Environment: The Challenge to the U.S. Defense Industrial Base,” Center for Strategic & International Studies, January 23, 2023,

55 Max Bergmann and Sophia Besch, “Why European Defense Still Depends on America,” Foreign Affairs, March 7, 2023,

56 Sophia Besch, “EU Defense and the War in Ukraine,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, December 21, 2022,

57 Conclusions adopted by the European Council, March 23, 2023,

58 Some member states, led by France, argued that new production contracts should go to firms in the EU and Norway. Others, led by Poland, argued that the ability to procure from third countries was necessary because EU industry will not be ready to meet the required ammunition orders fast enough. In the end, the member states opted to restrict new procurement contracts to firms established in (and with production lines in) the EU or Norway, while allowing for supply chains in third countries. See Council of the EU, “EU joint procurement of ammunition and missiles for Ukraine: Council agrees €1 billion support under the European Peace Facility,” May 5, 2023, For background on the challenges facing joint procurement, see Paul Taylor, “Ammo for Ukraine? EU might not be up to the task,” Politico, March 23, 2023, and Jacopo Barigazzi, “France and Poland spar as EU plan to buy Ukraine ammo idles in legal limbo,” Politico, April 19, 2023,

59 Frank Jordans, “German arms industry seeks clarity on Ukraine weapons orders,” Associated Press, March 15, 2023,

60 Valeriy Zaluzhnyi and Mykhailo Zabrodskyi, “Prospects for Running a Military Campaign in 2023: Ukraine’s Perspective,” Kyiv Post, September 8, 2022,

61 Volodymyr Zelensky, “We must be aware of our strength, respect our potential and all those who provide it - President at the first celebration of the Day of the Employee of the Defense and Industrial Complex of Ukraine,” website of the President of Ukraine, April 13, 2023,

62 See, for example, Thomas Laffitte, “Ukraine’s Defense Industry and the Prospect of a Long War,” Foreign Policy Research Institute, September 21, 2022,

63 Militarnyi (Ukrainian Military Portal), “PD-2 UAV manufacturer opens an office and production facility in Poland,” July 5, 2022,

64 Illia Ponomarenko, “Ukraine’s state defense conglomerate UkrOboronProm transformed into stock company,” Kyiv Independent, March 29, 2023,

65 Official statement by UkrOboronProm (in Ukrainian), December 1, 2022,

66 Olena Harmash, “Ukraine launches joint artillery shell production with a NATO country,” Reuters, February 15, 2023, and Stanislav Pohorilov, “Ukrainian Defence Industry sends first batch of its shells to defenders,” Ukrainska Pravda, March 22, 2023,

67 Ukraine World, “What is the Current State of Weapon Production in Ukraine?,” December 29, 2022,

68 Max Hunder and Tom Balmforth, “Ukraine seizes stakes in strategic companies under wartime laws,” Reuters, November 7, 2022,

69 “Readout of National Armaments Directors Meeting Under the Auspices of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group,” Department of Defense, September 28, 2022,

70 “Strategic cooperation in Ukraine: Rheinmetall and Ukroboronprom forge ties,” Rheinmetall, press release, May 12, 2023,

71 “Zelenskiy says Turkish drone maker to build Ukraine factory,” Reuters, September 9, 2022,

72 Daniel B. Shapiro, “A Review of the Negotiations on the 2016 US-Israel MOU on Military Assistance,” in Sasson Hadad et al. (eds.), “Israel’s Defense Industry and US Security Aid,” Institute for National Security Studies, Memorandum No. 202, July 2020,

73 Ponomarenko, “Ukraine’s state defense conglomerate.”

74 Margarita Konaev and Owen J. Daniels, “Agile Ukraine, Lumbering Russia,” Foreign Affairs, March 28, 2023,

75 Michael Kahn, “Ukraine’s tech entrepreneurs fight war on a different front,” Reuters, April 4, 2023,

76 Unlike the North Atlantic Council, this steering group should not operate according to consensus, as it is ultimately an advisory and coordinating mechanism rather than a collective decision-making body. Gatherings at the level of leaders, foreign ministers, and defense ministers could occur on a semi-regular basis. Kyiv and its partners might also wish to use such a group to address other major issues that require multinational coordination. Recovery, reconstruction, and energy security, for example, would require the involvement of finance ministers, energy ministers, and development assistance agencies. Multinational gatherings on these issues are already taking place, and it is not hard to imagine how they could be routinized as part of a security arrangement.

77 The United States has structured defense planning and resourcing conferences with many of the largest recipients of its security assistance, including Egypt, Israel, and Jordan.

78 Jim Garamone, “Defense Contact Group Remains Steadfast on Ukraine Support,” Department of Defense News, May 25, 2023,

79 Claire Mills, “Military assistance to Ukraine since the Russian invasion,” House of Commons Library Research Briefing, May 10, 2023,

80 See, for example, David Vergun, “Standardized Materiel Could Bolster Ukraine’s Defense, Says Official,” Department of Defense News, September 30, 2022, and Julia Monn and Andreas Rüesch, “How do Western weapons reach Ukraine? A visit to the secret site that coordinates deliveries,” Neue Zürcher Zeitung, January 2, 2023,

81 “US Department of Defense establishes Security Assistance Group-Ukraine in Wiesbaden,” U.S. Army Europe and Africa, press release, November 16, 2022,

82 Monn and Rüesch, “How do Western weapons reach Ukraine?”

83 Meghann Myers, “Long-term assistance command to oversee training mission with Ukraine,” Military Times, November 9, 2022,

84 In a post-conflict scenario, the SAG-U and associated structures might be wound down to a more minimal footprint, but the parties to the security arrangement should commit to standing up an around-the-clock coordination mechanism in case of a future attack.

85 William Burns, “The Role of Intelligence at a Transformational Moment,” Central Intelligence Agency, speech delivered at Georgia Tech, April 14, 2022,

86 “Remarks by President Biden Providing an Update on Russia and Ukraine,” White House, April 21, 2022,

87 Ukraine has not officially acknowledged, and in some cases it has officially denied, involvement in a variety of operations against Russian infrastructure and individuals including: explosions at multiple Russian air bases, sabotage of the Nord Stream pipeline, lethal operations against propagandists, a drone attack against the Kremlin, and a cross-border raid into Belgorod Oblast. Ukraine’s military intelligence chief, Kyrylo Budanov, has hinted that Ukraine is involved in operations on Russian soil, but he declined to confirm any specifics. See Isabelle Khurshudyan, “Ukraine intel chief predicted Russia’s war. He says Crimea will be retaken.” Washington Post, January 31, 2023,

88 See, for example, Stefano Stefanini, “Post-War Security for Ukraine: Eventually the Fighting Will End. What Then?,” Russia Matters, Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, March 2, 2023,

89 Some EU and member-state officials have expressed concern that deviating from the accession process for Ukraine would cause friction with Western Balkan nations, several of which have been in various stages of membership negotiations for well over a decade. Moreover, many EU countries are worried about the potentially transformative implications of Ukraine’s accession, considering its large (and relatively poorer) population, competitive industrial and agricultural base, and persistent security challenges. There is a widespread belief that Ukraine’s accession would force the EU to address larger questions of its institutional architecture, such as by reforming voting rules and removing limits to its fiscal capacity. See, for example, Judy Dempsey et al., “Judy Asks: Is the EU Ready for Further Enlargement?,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, May 4, 2023,

90 The EU might consider extending its mutual security pledge to candidate countries once they adopt the acquis communautaire (EU law) related to foreign, security, and defense policy. For more on staged accession proposals, see Michael Emerson et al., “A Template for Staged Accession to the EU,” Centre for European Policy Studies, October 2021, and Alyona Getmanchuk and Leonid Litra (interview with Alexander Isele), “This would be a very clear political signal to Putin: Ukraine will never become a part of Russia,” International Politics and Security, June 9, 2022,

91 Besch, “EU Defense.”

92 If the EU were unwilling or unable to approve a military mission, an ad hoc coalition could be assembled that includes a mixture of member states and non-EU countries. The U.K.-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) offers a potential model for how to deploy a European “coalition of the willing” force that transcends NATO and EU membership. The JEF, for which the United Kingdom provides command and control, includes Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden. Operational since 2018, it has primarily conducted activities in support of exercises in the Baltic Sea region. Other “minilateral” groupings could be formed to take on the tasks described in this section. See Sean Monaghan, “The Joint Expeditionary Force: Global Britain in Northern Europe?,” Center for Strategic & International Studies, March 25, 2022,

93 Under the auspices of the Common Security and Defense Policy, the EU conducts two naval missions: one counter-piracy mission off the Horn of Africa and one in the Mediterranean with a mandate to enforce the UN arms embargo to Libya and disrupt human trafficking.

94 Russia blockaded Ukraine’s ports early after the full-scale invasion began, halting all of the country’s maritime exports. In July 2022, the United Nations and Türkiye brokered a deal between Russia and Ukraine that allowed Ukraine to resume shipping grain and other agricultural products via specified corridors in the Black Sea. Türkiye hosts a coordination center in which the parties jointly register merchant vessels and inspect cargo, but in recent months, Russia has stopped participating in the inspections. “Ukraine says Russia has effectively stopped Black Sea grain deal,” Reuters, May 8, 2023,

95 Patricia Cohen, “How Freeing Ukraine’s Trapped Grain Rankled Farmers Elsewhere in Europe,” New York Times, April 20, 2023,

96 Paola Tamma, “Ukraine calls for war insurance to attract private investors,” Politico, October 25, 2022,

97 Hibai Arbide Aza and Miguel González, “US offered disarmament measures to Russia in exchange for deescalation of military threat in Ukraine,” El País, February 2, 2022,

98 Take Armenia as an example. It is in a military alliance and economic union with Russia, but their relations have deteriorated in recent years, especially in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. At the same time, Armenia is deeply concerned about Azerbaijan’s military intentions and is not confident that Russia would come to its aid in case of an attack. Yerevan is reaching out to a variety of partners for arms and training, notably France, India, and the United States. These relationships could be gathered into a multilateral framework that enhances Armenia’s self-defense capabilities without challenging its treaty alliance with Russia.

99 Anna Shamanska, “Behind Closed Doors: Ukraine’s Panicked Meeting Ahead of Crimean Seizure,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, February 23, 2016,

100 The proposal would have obligated individual guarantors to come to Ukraine’s defense, including by furnishing weapons, imposing a no-fly zone, and sending their own forces. One Ukrainian negotiator described the text under discussion as “equivalent to NATO’s Article 5.” U.S. officials were not willing to provide such a guarantee. For details, see Farida Rustamova, “Ukraine’s 10-point plan,” Faridaily, Substack, March 29, 2022,; Samantha Lock and Daniel Boffey, “Zelensky says Ukraine willing to discuss neutrality at Russia talks,” Guardian, March 28, 2023,; and Al’ona Mazurenko, “Chalyy poyasnyv, yak Rosiya bude harantom bezpeky dlya Ukrayiny” [Chalyy explained how Russia will be a security guarantor for Ukraine], Ukrayins’ka Pravda, March 29, 2022,

101 Putin did not think that Ukraine’s proposed concessions on NATO membership, a version of which had also been floated in the run-up to the invasion, went far enough. He refused to withdraw his troops unless Ukraine formally ceded parts of its territory to Russia, accepted strict limits on the size of its military, and ceased receiving Western training and weapons. See “Exclusive: As war began, Putin rejected a Ukraine peace deal recommended by aide,” Reuters, September 14, 2022, and “Russia says Ukraine presented ‘unacceptable’ draft peace deal,” Reuters, April 7, 2022,

102 See, for example, Andrew Roth, “Putin compares himself to Peter the Great in quest to take back Russian lands,” Guardian, June 10, 2022, and “Extracts from Putin’s speech at annexation ceremony,” Reuters, September 30, 2022,

103 Zelensky was especially frustrated with NATO’s mixed messaging on the “open door” policy in the run-up to Russia’s full-scale invasion. In 2021 and early 2022, he pressed the allies to clarify Ukraine’s path to membership, but they said the time was not right. Days before the invasion, he said: “We are told: the door is open. But so far authorized access only… Open doors are good, but we need open answers, not open questions for years.” Volodymyr Zelensky, “Speech by the President of Ukraine at the 58th Munich Security Conference,” President of Ukraine, February 19, 2022, See also Dan Sabbagh, “Ukraine urges NATO to hasten membership as Russian troops gather,” Guardian, April 6, 2021,; Pavel Polityuk, “Zelensky to Biden: give us a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on Ukraine NATO path,” Reuters, June 14, 2021,; Dareh Gregorian, “Biden says ‘it remains to be seen’ whether Ukraine will be admitted to NATO,” NBC News, June 14, 2021,; Matthias Williams and Natalia Zinets, “Biden assures Zelenskiy that NATO membership in Ukraine’s hands, Kyiv says,” Reuters, December 9, 2021,