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US, Ukraine sign historic defence pact

US President Joe Biden and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy have signed a 10-year bilateral security agreement aimed at bolstering Ukraine’s defence against Russian invaders.

US President Joe Biden (R) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) sign a security agreement after a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Savelletri (Brindisi), Italy. EPA/ETTORE FERRARI

US President Joe Biden (R) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) sign a security agreement after a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Savelletri (Brindisi), Italy. EPA/ETTORE FERRARI

The agreement, signed on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Italy on Thursday, is meant to be a step towards Ukraine’s eventual NATO membership, according to the text of the deal.

“The parties recognise this agreement as supporting a bridge to Ukraine’s eventual membership in the NATO alliance,” the text says.

Zelenskiy has long sought NATO membership but the allies have stopped short of taking that step. The Western alliance regards any attack launched on one of its 32 members as an attack on all under its Article Five clause.

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In the event of an armed attack or threat of such against Ukraine, top US and Ukrainian officials will meet within 24 hours to consult on a response and determine what additional defence needs are required for Ukraine, the agreement says.

Under the agreement, the United States restates its support for Ukraine’s defence of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, amid a renewed push by Russia on Ukraine’s eastern front.

“To ensure Ukraine’s security, both sides recognise Ukraine needs a significant military force, robust capabilities, and sustained investments in its defence industrial base that are consistent with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)standards,” the text says.

“The United States intends to provide long-term material, training and advising, sustainment, intelligence, security, defence industrial, institutional, and other support to develop Ukrainian security and defence forces that are capable of defending a sovereign, independent, democratic Ukraine and deterring future aggression,” it says.

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