NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addresses media during a foreign ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium (Photo: NATO)

BELFAST — Amid reports that NATO is seeking to take over leadership in transatlantic efforts to aid Ukraine and establish a “Trump-proof” $100 billion funding mechanism, alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg acknowledged discussions are underway on both fronts.

On Tuesday, the multiple outlets reported NATO was interested in taking responsibility for supplying weapons to Ukraine from the current US-led Ukraine Defense Contact Group.

Today Stoltenberg said in a news conference that in an upcoming meeting “ministers will discuss how NATO could assume more responsibility for coordinating military equipment and training for Ukraine anchoring this within a robust NATO framework.”

“I will not go into the details of the proposal,” he said. “What I can say is that I welcome that Allies agree that we need to sustain our support to Ukraine, we need to make it more robust and therefore we are now discussing ways to institutionalize more of the support within a NATO framework to make it more predictable to make it more robust.”

As for the reported $100 billion aid package, Stoltenberg said the alliance planned to discuss “a multi-year financial commitment to sustain our support.” It remains unclear how the $100 billion package will be funded.

“What is obvious is that we need new and more money for Ukraine and we need it over many years, and the whole idea now discussing framework commitments and institutionalized frameworks for the support is to ensure more predictability and more confidence in that moment will come every month, every year, for the long haul,” added Stoltenberg.

He backed the changes to deliver more “predictable, robust” long-term support for Ukraine and stressed they were necessary to “send a message to Moscow that they cannot wait” the alliance out.

“We will hopefully move forward towards consensus and then we will have an agreement in place by the [NATO] summit” scheduled to take place this July in Washington DC, noted the alliance leader.

Should NATO gain more influence over the Contact Group, it would have a more direct say over how weapons and ammunition supplies to Ukraine are co-ordinated, according to diplomats cited by Reuters.

The diplomats said NATO’s Contact Group coordination role would act as a guard against any potential cut in US support by Trump, should he win a second term. The former US president has repeatedly praised Russia, prompting fears that his victory would quickly mean an end to US support to Kyiv.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin currently chairs the Contact Group, which typically meets at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on a monthly basis to discuss and approve new weapons packages and coordinate multinational coalition procurements for Ukraine.

Ukraine and European officials remain openly concerned and frustrated with a six-month delay by Washington to approve much needed military aid under the $105 billion supplemental funding bill, held up by House Republicans in a dispute over border control and immigration reform.

Speaker of the House Rep. Mike Johnson said on Sunday that the aid package could move forward once lawmakers return from a recess.

The US funding problems arrive at a time when Kyiv faces an ammunition crisis, continues to lose ground to Russia and faces the prospect of having to fight against an additional 150,000 new Moscow conscripts.

Earlier this week, Andriy Zagorodnyuk, a former Ukraine defense minister and chair of the Centre for Defence Strategies, a Ukrainian security think tank, said that US leadership had made a “historical strategic mistake” in not passing the supplemental.