This is the fifth Meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs this year, taking place in Bucharest, Romania. From Bucharest it is just 250 kilometres to the border with Ukraine, where Russia is waging a relentless war of aggression against the Ukrainian people. As 2022 draws to a close, it is not just any year that is ending; this is the end of a year of war in Europe.
Russia’s barbaric campaign against the Ukrainian people’s desire for freedom concerns us as neighbours and as Europeans, but also as NATO members. Never before has NATO territory been so directly at risk, never before has the strength of our alliance faced such a challenge – both overt and covert, with disinformation and propaganda, with weapons and with hybrid attacks. At the end of this year we will see, and the people of the thirty member states will see, how NATO has fared in tackling this challenge. Never has our alliance been more resolute, never has the protection that it promises been more tangible. - Foreign Minister Baerbock
Solidarity and support for Ukraine – especially in winter
In Bucharest, the NATO Foreign Ministers will discuss how the alliance can continue to stand by the people in Ukraine. NATO’s focus is on practical support in the defensive battle against Russia, including weapons supplies but also humanitarian assistance to help people through the winter. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock will speak directly with her Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba about what the people in Ukraine most urgently need at present. Germany will also use the meeting in Bucharest to pledge additional funding for NATO’s Comprehensive Assistance Package (CAP). This funding will be used to purchase additional generators, fuel and ambulances and support demining projects.
In addition to the NATO consultations in Bucharest, Germany’s Foreign Minister is hosting an expanded G7 meeting to discuss emergency support to help Ukraine restore its energy infrastructure that has been deliberately destroyed by Russia. The ministers will prioritise the most urgent needs and coordinate their support with one another. They will also focus on strengthening Ukraine’s ability to protect its infrastructure from Russian attacks. Germany is already providing more than 150 million euro to support Ukrainians in the fight against the cold.
By the end of the year, this funding is set to be used to provide around 300,000 people with blankets, mattresses and winter clothing, 75,000 households with heaters and an additional 50,000 households with fuel. Accommodation centres housing 40,000 people are to be winter-proofed and 18,000 homes are to be insulated.
Bosnia, Georgia and Moldova invited to NATO meeting
Another item on the agenda will be the future of the defensive alliance. The member states will discuss how NATO is progressing with the admission of Sweden and Finland and how the alliance can continue to responsibly expand its own security against Russia. NATO is also expecting a number of guests at this meeting. Since 24 February, more of our European neighbours have been worried about their security. As well as Sweden and Finland, this meeting will be attended by the Foreign Ministers of Bosnia, Georgia and Moldova – three partners who are coming under increasing pressure from Russia. We as NATO members will use the meeting to consider together how we can help these countries to protect their independence and strengthen their capacity for self-defence.
Support for Moldova
The Republic of Moldova, one of Ukraine’s smaller neighbours, has been a NATO partner since 1992. The planned support includes advice on its national security strategy and associated defence plans as well as long-term support with armed forces reform.
Moldova has been facing particular challenges for months now. It has provided a temporary home to nearly 100,000 Ukrainians. Moldova imports 80% of its natural gas from Russia and has been experiencing a severe energy crisis since Russian companies have drastically reduced their gas supplies to the country. Moldova is also directly affected by the recent Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, as the country is connected to the Ukrainian grid.
This March, the Support Platform for the Republic of Moldova was launched at the initiative of Foreign Minister Baerbock. Our European family will not abandon the members who are most heavily, directly affected and threatened by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.