Biden to Sign Security Agreement with Ukraine at G7 Summit

Biden to Sign Security Agreement with Ukraine at G7 Summit
U.S. President Joe Biden (R) and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hold a bilateral meeting at the Intercontinental Hotel in Paris on June 7, 2024. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden is set to sign a bilateral security agreement with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, on Thursday, signifying continuing U.S. support for Ukraine’s national security.

White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan announced the plans to finalize this bilateral agreement during a discussion with reporters aboard Air Force One on Wednesday.

The forthcoming U.S.–Ukraine bilateral agreement comes after President Biden and the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom—collectively known as the Group of Seven or G7—announced during last year’s G7 summit that they would each establish their own direct security terms with Ukraine.

Mr. Sullivan said President Biden and Mr. Zelenskyy would meet on the sidelines of this year’s G7 summit to discuss the continued U.S. support for Ukraine. After that, “the leaders will sign a bilateral security agreement making clear our support will last long into the future and pledging continued cooperation, particularly in the defense and security space.”

Fifteen countries have already entered into direct bilateral security agreements with Ukraine, showing their support as Ukrainian forces contend with a Russian invasion of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.

“Any lasting peace in Ukraine has to be underwritten by Ukraine’s own ability to defend itself and deter future aggression,” Mr. Sullivan said. “And by signing this, we’ll also be sending Russia a signal of our resolve. If [Russian President Vladimir Putin] thinks that he can outlast the coalition supporting Ukraine, he’s wrong. He just cannot wait us out, and this agreement will show our resolve and continued commitment.”

Mr. Sullivan said the new agreement covers the kind of military support the U.S. government has already provided for Ukraine but would not commit U.S. troops to direct involvement in the conflict.

“They have asked for our weapons and assistance as they fight to defend their territory. They have not asked our forces to join the fight. So, this agreement does not include any commitment to using our own forces to defend Ukraine,” he said.

While the new bilateral agreement would signify a continued U.S. commitment to supply Ukrainian forces with military aid, Mr. Sullivan said the U.S. side stands to gain “from Ukraine’s insights and experience, its battlefield innovations, and its lessons learned from the front.”

The White House national security advisor also said the new bilateral agreement would include some new Ukrainian commitments to account for the various weapons systems the U.S. government continues to provide.

Mr. Sullivan offered few additional details about the specific provisions and enforcement mechanisms for the forthcoming security agreement, which comes about in the final months of President Biden’s term.

U.S. support for the Zelenskyy government may continue if President Biden wins a second term after the U.S. general elections in November. On the other hand, former President Donald Trump—the presumptive GOP nominee—has wavered on whether to continue flowing military aid to Ukraine.

Last year, former President Trump repeatedly suggested he would prefer to quickly negotiate a settlement to end the ongoing Russia–Ukraine conflict, at points indicating he could reach a cease-fire within 24 hours if he regained the White House.

However, former President Trump has more recently suggested that the United States could continue to supply aid to Ukraine in the form of a loan. In an April press conference, as Congress negotiated a $95 billion foreign aid package with about $60 billion in new Ukraine-related funding, the former president said he and House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) had discussed structuring future Ukraine-related aid as a loan “instead of just a gift.” The former president also argued during that same April press conference that European countries must also “step up” their own support for Ukraine.