In a step towards deepening military co-operation, Nato held its first Nato-Ukraine Council in the Military Representatives format with Ukraine sitting on the NATO Military Committee on November 16, marking the development of the alliance’s relationship with Ukraine.

The meeting’s significance lies in its potential implications for Nato’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict. While Nato has consistently supported Ukraine, this enhanced level of co-operation raises questions about the alliance’s role and its stance of not being a direct participant in the war in Ukraine. The integration of Ukraine into Nato’s military discussions, though not constituting full membership, represents a closer alignment between the two and could impact Nato’s future strategic decisions regarding the Ukraine conflict and beyond.

Admiral Rob Bauer, Chair of the Nato Military Committee, formally welcomed Ukrainian Military Representative Major General Serhii Salkutsan, seated between representatives from Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Bauer emphasised the new format’s role in facilitating detailed discussions on Ukraine’s security situation and its broader implications.  “It is a pleasure to welcome you at this table and this appropriate setting. We look forward to using this new and improved arena for comprehensive discussions on Ukrainian matters, and their impact on regional and global security”, noted the Chair in his remarks. 

Salkutsan expressed Ukraine’s appreciation for Nato’s ongoing support, highlighting the importance of their nearly three-decade-long partnership with the alliance. “It is an honour to join you all and to take this seat amongst Allies – but most of all we are truly honoured to be part of Nato’s Partner family and we look forward to moving even closer.”

The meeting focused on Ukraine’s efforts to counter Russian military aggression, underscoring the need for sustained Nato support. Bauer stressed that supporting Ukraine serves Nato’s security interests, citing the dangers posed by unchecked Russian military ambitions.

Salkutsan presented a piece of a downed Russian helicopter to the Nato Military Committee, reflecting Ukraine’s determination in the conflict. “This piece of wreckage represents Ukraine’s righteous fight to take back their homeland. Ukrainians have the will, the grit and the determination to take back what has always been rightfully theirs. And NATO will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes”, concluded Admiral Bauer.