On 10th January 2023, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg; the President of the European Council, Charles Michel; and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen signed the 3rd EU-NATO Joint Declaration in Brussels. The first and second joint declarations between the EU and NATO were signed in 2016 and 2018 respectively.
On the 22nd of February 2023, Germany’s Foreign Minister Anna Baerbock stated that Germany will not stop Poland from delivering Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine (as cited in Radford, 2023). It is known that all states, whether in Europe or not, will help each other if one of them is in need (Art. 42, para. 7, TEU). These international subjects will cooperate in helping Ukraine with arms as well as economic and security assistance whenever it is in need (Art. 42, para. 7, TEU). Ukraine is a regional strategic partner that has undertaken significant efforts to modernize its military and increase its interoperability with NATO. It remains an urgent security assistance priority to provide Ukraine with the equipment it needs to defend itself in Russia’s war against Ukraine (Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, 2023).
Estonia took another step on January 14 to bolster its defence as the nation’s Ministry of Defence announced the signing of a new €36 million contract to procure twelve K9 Thunder Self-Propelled Howitzers (Ministry of Defence Estonia, 2023). The deal, signed with the company Hanwha Defence, is a result of what Defence Minister Hanno Peukur referred to as “lessons learned from the war in Ukraine” (as cited in Estonian World, 2023). The 47-ton, 155 mm howitzers manufactured in South Korea feature a maximum firing range of 40 kilometres and can reach a top speed of 67 kilometres per hour (European Defence Review, 2022).
Airbus and the Dutch industrial supplier VDL Group struck a partnership on January 10th to develop and manufacture a laser communication terminal for military aircraft. The communication terminal, known as UltraAir, would allow for more significant amounts of data sharing between ground terminals, satellites, and crewed aircraft or autonomous drones. The two organisations will begin preparing a prototype and aim for a first test flight in 2024 (Airbus, 2023).
Several European governments have decided or have seriously been considering sending tanks to Kyiv as more intense fighting is expected with the coming of spring. In particular, there have been discussions regarding the German Leopard 2 main battle tank. Polish President Duda seems to have already determined that “A company of Leopard tanks for Ukraine will be transferred as part of building an international coalition” (Kancelaria Prezydenta, 2023).