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First NATO-Ukraine Council meeting with Chiefs of Defence

Formed at the 2023 NATO Summit in Vilnius, the NATO-Ukraine Council replaced the 1997 NATO-Ukraine Commission.
First NATO-Ukraine Council Meeting with Chiefs of Defence
Admiral Rob Bauer, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee. Photo: nato.int

At the NATO-Ukraine Council meeting on 17 January 2024 in Brussels, Chiefs of Defence from NATO countries and Ukraine will participate for the first time, as announced by the alliance press service. This session is part of a two-day meeting of NATO’s highest military body, the Military Committee, scheduled for January 17 and 18.

“The last session of the first day, the Chiefs of Defence will meet for the first time in a NATO-Ukraine Council format. They will discuss Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the situation on the ground, and NATO and Allied continued support to Ukraine,” announced the alliance’s press service. 

At the meeting, Admiral Rob Bauer, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, will preside, joined by the highest military officials from NATO member states and their counterpart from Sweden. General Christopher Cavoli, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, and General Philip Lavigne, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, will join them.

This lineup strongly suggests the likely presence of General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, either in person or via video conferencing. In May 2023, he was invited to a NATO Military Committee meeting but declined due to the challenging frontline situation.

Why does this matter? The likely presence of General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, underscores the importance Ukraine places on this meeting. It provides an opportunity for direct engagement with NATO’s highest military body.

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