NATO summit live: Allies send F-16s to Ukraine as Biden hosts DC meeting | NATO News

Al Jazeera: Ukraine is waiting to hear on a clearer path to entering NATO than the alliance is offering. Will members offer a timeline this time around?

Pothier: That’s the critical missing bit. I think it’s pretty fair if you look at the kind of assessments you can draw on the forces at play both on the Ukrainian side but also on the Russian side, that is going to be very hard to see how either side can come up with an edge over the other.

So it’s not going to be played in the military field; it will be played in a more strategic domain and the one strategy card we have in our back pocket is the NATO membership to Ukraine.

And this is quite frustrating to see – that one summit more, we are not meeting, I would say, that level of ambition.

The moment Ukraine comes under the NATO protection, its sovereignty will be given a long-term guarantee and it will be a game over for Vladimir Putin’s vision of basically subduing and undermining Ukrainian sovereignty.

Al Jazeera: On the sidelines, how much concern will there be over Trump potentially coming back into power who has spoken out against the alliance and the countries that don’t meet the target?

Pothier: President Trump always takes, I would say, a very transactional, commercial view of US commitments abroad, including at NATO.

So I think if he looks at the balance sheet, it has significantly improved from last time. You have now more than two thirds of the European allies who are meeting the two percent spending target. So I think in that respect, there’s a slightly better context if he comes in January next year than last time.

However it’s more than about spending. It’s about how you spend and when and how the European allies will be able to take on a big chunk of defending themselves.

Right now there’s a huge dependence on US capabilities and US capacity and I think when the Europeans will be able to demonstrate to whoever is in the US – Democrat or Republican, Trump or not Trump – that they are capable of defending themselves and including defending Ukraine to a large extent, I think that’s when the conversation will be more constructive.

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