1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites
ConflictsGlobal issues

NATO ministers talk defense spending, aid for Ukraine

June 14, 2024

A new strategy regarding support for Ukraine is being discussed by defense ministers in Brussels. Meanwhile, Estonia is pushing for more spending on defense.

NATO defense ministers are plotting a different course regarding its Ukraine strategyImage: Janine Schmitz/AA/photothek.de/picture alliance

Day two of a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels gets underway on Friday with the military alliance's support of Ukraine top of the agenda among defense ministers.

Ahead of the second day of talks, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the plan was to "address how to further strengthen our deterrence on defense. Ministers will discuss a new defense industrial pledge to scale up military production and solidify long-term cooperation with our industry."

NATO countries have previously supported Ukraine through an informal, US-led group called the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. There may now, however, be a shift toward handing over that responsibility to the formal structures of NATO.

US and Ukraine sign long-term security deal

Estonia calls for increased defense spending

NATO has a long-standing target for member states to spend 2% of their gross domestic product on defense — though until Russia's all-out invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, only a few members met the target, and many still don't.

Spending is also to be discussed at the meeting. Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur told reporters as he arrived at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Friday that "2% is not enough." 

Pevkur is proposing a target of 2.5% while Estonia is currently spending more than 3% of its GDP.

"When we look also how much Russia is investing at the moment to defense this year — close to 9% of their GDP — then we all understand that when we put in comparison our 2% in NATO, or 3-3.5% in Baltic states and Poland, then still we need to invest more," Pevkur said.

The next NATO summit is set for Washington in July.

Between fear and deterrence: Can Europe defend itself?

jsi/sms (dpa, AFP, AP, Reuters)