July 16th, 2024

Record number of NATO allies expected to hit defense spending target amid war in Ukraine

By Ellen Knickmeyer, The Associated Press on June 17, 2024.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addresses a media conference after a meeting of NATO defense ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

WASHINGTON (AP) – A record more than 20 NATO member nations are expected to hit the Western military alliance’s defense spending target this year, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday, as the war in Ukraine drives worldwide concerns.

The estimated figure, announced by Stoltenberg during a talk at the Wilson Center in Washington, marks a nearly fourfold increase from 2021 in the ranks of the 32 NATO member nations meeting the alliance’s defense spending guideline. Only six nations were meeting the goal that year, ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

NATO member countries agreed last year to spend at least 2% of their gross domestic product on defense.

The surge in spending reflects the worries of Western allies about the war in Ukraine. Some countries also are concerned about the possible reelection of former President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly characterized many NATO allies as freeloading on U.S. military spending and said on the campaign trail that he would not defend NATO members that don’t meet defense spending targets.

Stoltenberg is meeting with President Joe Biden later Monday at the White House

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