NATO leaders are due to gather for a summer summit to set a new direction for the alliance in response to Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine and the planned expansion of China’s military
Members of the Western military alliance, or the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), will hold talks to discuss the response to peace in Europe being shattered by President Vladimir Putin ’s attack on Kyiv, a conflict that has been raging for more than four months.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has already said in the run-up to the summer 2022 summit that Russia is the “most significant and direct threat” to security facing the West as leaders prepare to get down to business.
Where is the NATO 2022 summer summit being held?
The gathering is taking place in the Spanish capital of Madrid.
The concern around Moscow’s actions in eastern Europe has seen NATO step-up the number of summits it has held this year, with the meeting this week being the third of 2022, following on from a previous virtual conference and earlier gathering in Brussels.
The last time the NATO summit was held in the UK was in 2019 when leaders met in Watford.
Who is attending the NATO summit?
NATO is made up of 30 members, with the leader of each nation due to travel to Madrid.
While not members of NATO, the leaders of Japan, Australia, South Korea and New Zealand have been invited as guests to the summit for the first time in recognition of their support for Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is scheduled to address the summit by video.
Attending on the fringes of the meeting will be the leaders of Sweden and Finland after both countries abandoned their neutral status and asked to join NATO to seek protection from Russia.
However, Turkey, which has NATO’s second-largest army after the US, opposes the move.
NATO secretary-general Mr Stoltenberg was due to host talks between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Nordic pair on Tuesday in a bid to deliver a breakthrough and pave the way for them to join.
What is on the NATO summit agenda in Madrid?
As well as discussing the war between Russia and Ukraine, the NATO summit will see members debate the military expansion of China and the financial defence contributions made by each member.
As the battle for the Donbas – Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartlands that are under heavy bombardment – continues to be bloody and destructive, there are fears that cracks in the West’s united front are starting to show.
With the conflict continuing to have a ripple effect in terms of rising energy and food prices in Europe and beyond, there are suggestions some governments would like to see a peace pact rushed into, even if that would involve Kyiv making concessions to end the fighting.
Speaking in Brussels before the travelling to Madrid, Mr Stoltenberg said Putin’s actions in Ukraine would be “transformative” for NATO, with the number of troops in the alliance’s high-readiness response force soaring from 40,000 to more than 300,000.
NATO will also use the summit to set out its goals for the coming decade in a new Strategic Concept, the document that identifies its most pressing security concerns and how it will tackle them.
While Russia will remain the top issue, the document will see the alliance grapple for the first time with the growing military reach of China, which has set out on an ambitious plan to expand naval bases in the Pacific and in Africa.
On financing NATO, members are set a target of spending two per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on defence to ensure the alliance is ready to respond to threats.
However, only nine of the 30 members currently meet this target – a huge bugbear for Donald Trump when he was in the White House – and Boris Johnson has recently urged allies to commit more, saying two per cent is “a floor, not a ceiling.”