Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky did not leave the NATO summit in Vilnius with a concrete timeline for a potential Ukrainian membership bid, but he did come away with some new toys.
The Ukrainian military is getting more weapons to fight the Russian invaders, including advanced cruise missiles that hit targets up to 250 miles away.
SCALP-EG Cruise Missiles
French President Emmanuel Macron announced on the sidelines of the summit that his country will provide SCALP-EG cruise missiles to Ukraine.
The SCALP-EG is the cousin of the Storm Shadow munition that is already in Ukrainian service courtesy of the United Kingdom. The two systems were designed and developed jointly in the 1990s.
With a 1,000-pound warhead and sensors that make it hard to intercept, the SCALP-EG cruise missile is a highly advanced munition designed for deep strikes.
As manufacturer MBDA states, the SCALP-EG is “designed to meet the demanding requirements of pre-planned attacks against high value fixed or stationary targets.”
The SCALP-EG cruise missile is battle-tested, having seen action in Iraq, Libya, and Syria.
That amount of munitions would allow the Ukrainian military to maintain its highly effective long-range fire campaign against Russian logistical nodes and command and control centers. Using Western weapon systems — mainly the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System, and Storm Shadow cruise missiles — Ukrainian forces have been systematically dismantling the Russian logistical network behind the contact line, thus undermining the defensive capabilities of the Russian forces.
NATO members Greece and Italy also have about 350 munitions of the type between them, but they are unlikely to commit any of their cruise missiles to Ukraine at the moment and without any replacements.
Continued Military Assistance
Beside the SCALP-EG cruise missiles, NATO reiterated its commitment to support Ukraine with weapons for as long as it takes to defeat Russia. Moreover, NATO agreed to continue the modernization and de-Russification programs of the Ukrainian military, which is steadily moving away from Soviet- and Russian-made platforms to Western ones.
“As we have stated again and again, there is nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine. What we do know is that the more military support we provide to Ukraine, the more land they are able to liberate, the stronger their hand will be at the negotiating table,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said from Vilnius.
Western security aid has been a key part of the Ukrainian success story.
“And therefore we continue, and the message from this Summit and from NATO Allies with new announcements of long-range cruise missiles, of more armored vehicles with more advanced air defense systems and training of the F-16 pilots is that we support them to liberate land, so they will have a stronger hand at the negotiating table,” NATO’s chief added.
The more security aid Ukraine receives, the sooner the war will end.
A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.