ato leaders have gathered in Lithuania for a crucial summit that could shape the direction of the war in Ukraine and the future of the alliance.
Countries are expected to discuss further support for Kyiv in its counter-offensive and ways to put the military alliance on the path to face down future threats.
Here are five points likely to be discussed at the summit in Vilnius:
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will call on allies to commit to spending at least 2 per cent of GDP on defence.
Last year just nine out of 30 NATO allies, including the UK, spent that amount. This is projected to rise to two thirds of countries by 2024.
At the summit, the Prime Minister will argue that meeting the commitment is crucial to Nato’s ability to defend against the kind of tactics Putin has used in Ukraine.
He said: “When thousands of Russian troops crossed the border in February last year, it marked a grim new chapter in Europe and Nato’s history.
“In the 500 days that have elapsed since we have witnessed the most terrible crimes and human tragedies in Ukraine. But we have also seen the Nato alliance come together like never before in support of Ukraine and with firm determination that Russia cannot succeed.
“That is work we need to continue this week. We cannot let the fog of war obscure the clear lessons our alliance must learn if we are going to outpace and outmanoeuvre those who seek to do us harm.”
Arms and munitions
The Prime Minister will also push for further joint efforts to increase the production of missiles and ammunition.
Mr Sunak will confirm an eight-fold increase in the UK’s production capacity of 155mm artillery ammunition–which most Nato armies use as standard–and a new £190m BAE Systems contract, that will lead to the production of more artillery shells for use by the UK and other allied forces.
It comes as the Ministry of Defence is set to publish a new Command Paper, setting out the measures the UK is taking to improve the lethality of our own Armed Forces as well as our contribution to Nato.
It includes establishing a new “Global Response Force” to increase our ability to respond to a crisis at short notice.
An accelerated path for Ukraine to join Nato has been agreed by member states, Ukraine’s foreign minister announced on Monday.
Dmytro Kuleba said a deal had been struck that would allow the country to skip the Membership Action Plan (MAP) usually required of prospective allies.
It follows weeks of high-level meetings between Mr Kuleba, President Volodymyr Zelensky and various allied governments.
“Following intensive talks, Nato allies have reached consensus on removing MAP from Ukraine’s path to membership,” he tweeted. “I welcome this long-awaited decision that shortens our path to Nato. It is also the best moment to offer clarity on the invitation to Ukraine to become a member.”
The statement suggests the United States and Germany, who have previously distanced themselves from the plan, have also now dropped objections to Ukraine becoming a member after the war with Russia has ended.
Mr Sunak has said Ukraine’s “rightful place” is in Nato and Poland and Baltic states have lobbied for a demonstration of commitment to its future membership.
However, there remain divisions over whether or not Ukraine could join.
US President Joe Biden said on Sunday that he did not believe the country was “ready for membership” and that there was no unanimity within the alliance “about whether or not to bring Ukraine into the Nato family now, in the middle of a war”.
Military support for Ukraine
New ways of supporting Kyiv in its counter-offensive will be discussed at the summit. US President Joe Biden is due to deliver a speech at Vilnius University on Wednesday night where he will lay out the importance of standing up to Russian aggression, including supplying weaponry.
However, the UK and some Democratic lawmakers in the US have raised concerns about Mr Biden’s decision to send cluster munitions to Ukraine.
The artillery shells release dozens of bombs at a time that cause destruction over wide areas. They have been banned by more than 100 countries due to the significant risk they pose to civilians.
Ben Wallace snubbed
The summit comes after UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said he did not expect to be the next head of Nato.
The Tory MP had expressed a strong interest in the job and was tipped as a top contender owing to his role in supporting Ukraine after Russia’s invasion.
But last month he said “it’s not going to happen”, adding that he thinks the United States want the current Secretary General, former prime minister of Norway Jens Stoltenberg, to remain in post for another year.
Former Nato Secretary General Lord Robertson said one of the reasons Mr Wallace was not chosen for the job is the French are not “terribly keen on somebody who had been so associated with Brexit and with Boris Johnson”.
Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen has been tipped as another possible candidate.