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Bucharest Nine regional defense group to convene

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Bucharest Nine regional defense group to convene

Meeting of the Bucharest Nine in Slovakia in 2019.
Meeting of the Bucharest Nine in Slovakia in 2019.
A 2019 Bucharest Nine meeting in Slovakia. The regional defense group – joined by NATO’s Secretary General – will meet today in Romania to discuss Ukraine, Russia and other security concerns – Photo: PAP

A summit of the Bucharest Nine regional defense group will take place today in Romania.

The nine member states will be joined by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who will hold bilateral talks with the presidents of Poland, Romania and Hungary. Discussions will likely include the topics of military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, materiel logistics and Ukrainian grain exports.

Poland in particular has ramped up defense dealings with Ukraine. On Wednesday, Poland signed a $650 million agreement with Ukraine for the purchase of 18 self-propelled howitzers, on top of a June 1 agreement to set up a joint venture for manufacturing weapons and military equipment. Additionally, Poland sent over $1.73 billion in military aid to Ukraine between January and May, behind only the U.S. and U.K. in sheer amount given.

Bilateral talks between NATO and Poland will allow Stoltenberg to directly address Polish specific security concerns and free up time for other matters at NATO’s next summit at the end of June. Expect more Polish military aid packages to Ukraine in the coming months, with a focus on artillery and other heavy weapons. The Ukrainian military’s large materiel needs and fear of Russian aggression will likely increase Polish military exports to Ukraine permanently and strengthen long-term military cooperation between the two countries.

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Photo: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro

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