Europe Offers Ukraine a Hope of Joining the E.U., but Not a Vast Arsenal

In Brussels, NATO defense ministers ended a two-day meeting on Thursday by weighing ways to deter further Russian aggression and by debating a new “strategic concept,” the first in 12 years, that sees Russia and China as potential threats.

NATO’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said the alliance would create more stockpiles of war-fighting equipment on its eastern flank, put more troops on a state of high readiness and make new investments in air, cyber and naval defense.

All of these preparations will require member countries to spend more on their own militaries and on NATO itself, Mr. Stoltenberg said. “The substantial strengthening of our deterrence and defense is necessary for security, but it does not come for free,” he said.

The Kremlin has cast NATO as an enemy behind Kyiv in the war, insisting that Ukraine must never join the alliance and calling for other former members of the Soviet bloc to leave it. Moscow has been less vehement in opposing E.U. membership for Ukraine, though it has long preferred Ukraine be economically dependent on Russia.

The support of France, Germany and Italy for E.U. membership was widely celebrated as a breakthrough for Ukraine. Mr. Honcharenko, the Ukrainian lawmaker, said it woud help rally Ukraine by signaling a postwar future within the bloc and an end to the perception of Ukraine as a security buffer between Europe and Russia.

“It’s a psychological weapon to demonstrate that Ukraine has a future,” he said.

“Ukrainians are the only people on the continent dying for European values,” he added. “Europe would betray itself if it did not make this decision.”

Andrew E. Kramer reported from Kyiv and Michael Levenson from New York. Reporting was contributed by Oleksandr Chubko from Kyiv, Steven Erlanger and Matina Stevis-Gridneff from Brussels, Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Natalia Yermak from Lysychansk, Ukraine, Anton Troianovski, Katrin Bennhold and Erika Solomon from Berlin, Marc Santora from Warsaw and Aurelien Breeden from Paris.

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