Biden, Zelensky to sign 10-year U.S.-Ukraine security deal at G-7 summit

On Thursday, President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky are set to sign a 10-year security agreement. This agreement will involve the United States providing military assistance to Kyiv to enhance their defense against Russia. The goal is to ensure continuous support for Ukraine, regardless of the outcome of the upcoming U.S. presidential election. The agreement will serve as a framework for long-term efforts by the United States to help strengthen Ukraine’s armed forces. Although Ukraine has made advancements in drone warfare and other advanced techniques, they still face significant challenges due to being outgunned and lacking modern weapons.
Officials expressed hope that the agreement would transcend political divisions in the United States. However, they acknowledged that the agreement, being an executive agreement and not a treaty ratified by Congress, could be withdrawn by President Trump or any future president. Additionally, the agreement does not make any new commitments regarding Ukraine’s prospects of joining the NATO defense alliance, which still remain distant.

Deputy National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the intention was to demonstrate unwavering support for the people of Ukraine and to continue addressing their security needs in the long run. He made these remarks to reporters on Air Force One as President Biden headed to the Group of Seven leaders summit in Italy’s southern Puglia region.

Sullivan also emphasized that the United States would bolster Ukraine’s defense and deterrence capability. He stated that if Russian President Vladimir Putin believed he could outlast the coalition supporting Ukraine, he was mistaken.
With Trump currently leading in the election polls against Biden, the future of the agreement remains uncertain. Trump has shown doubts about Ukraine’s ongoing fight, even suggesting that he could end the war between Russia and Ukraine within 24 hours. He has also urged Europe to take on more responsibility in supporting Kyiv. However, he eventually agreed to the passage of aid for Ukraine by Congress earlier this year.

The agreement is the result of months of negotiations that began in August of last year. During a NATO summit, the Biden administration was initially hesitant to offer Ukraine a quick path to alliance membership. Instead, they proposed a series of bilateral security agreements as a means of providing long-term support to Kyiv in a more organized and binding manner.
However, negotiations for a 10-year deal between the United States and Ukraine were delayed due to complications with short-term military aid. Skeptical House Republicans in Congress postponed approval of new funding, resulting in a seven-month pause in discussions. U.S. officials believed it was impractical to talk about long-term commitments to Ukraine when they couldn’t gather support for immediate assistance.

On Thursday, Biden will join 15 other countries, including Britain, France, Germany, and Italy, in signing bilateral agreements with Ukraine. Additionally, 16 more countries have committed to making similar agreements in the future. It is anticipated that these nations will coordinate their assistance efforts, possibly starting at a NATO summit in Washington next month. However, not all countries that have signed deals with Kyiv are members of the NATO alliance.
According to an anonymous administration official, the pact does not require the United States to send troops to defend Ukraine in the event of an attack, unlike NATO’s mutual defense commitments. Additionally, the agreement does not specify a specific amount of financial support that the United States will provide to Ukraine.

However, the pact does oblige the United States to engage in high-level consultations with Kyiv within 24 hours if Ukraine is attacked again in the future. It also promises that the U.S. president will collaborate with Congress to implement the security agreements, as stated by the official.
According to sources familiar with the agreement, the United States will continue to provide military training to Ukraine, enhance cooperation in defense industry production, and increase intelligence sharing. Additionally, efforts will be made to bolster Ukraine’s long-term deterrent capabilities in areas such as air, sea, and cyber. Eric Ciaramella, a former White House official and current fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, emphasized the importance of shifting the focus from immediate warfare to broader considerations of deterrence and defense. He also highlighted the potential for further strengthening these agreements over time, including coordination with allies.