NATO countries are playing "Russian roulette" with insufficient defense spending, says UK's Shapps
Grant Shapps (Photo: EPA/ Andy Rain)

NATO countries that do not spend 2% of GDP on defense are playing "Russian roulette" with the future of the West, British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said in an article for The Telegraph.

Allies should recognize that they are now in a "pre-war world", he stressed.

Shapps noted that in 2023, only 11 NATO members met the two percent target first set nearly two decades ago, with France and Germany among the countries that spent less on defense.

Britain's defense chief has indicated expectations that this number will rise to 18 this year, with Paris and Berlin recently announcing they will meet the 2024 target.

"We must look beyond that target to shore up our defences. Yet some nations are still failing to meet even the two per cent. That cannot continue. We can’t afford to play Russian roulette with our future," the British official said.

It is not enough for the members of the North Atlantic Alliance to pay tribute to NATO's past, according to Shapps.

"Today we must give urgent thought once again to the alliance’s future. We have moved from a post-war to a pre-war world," the defense secretary said.

On February 14, it was reported that for the first time since the early 1990s, Germany met the NATO goal of spending 2% of its gross domestic product on defense. Spending has skyrocketed since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022.

On the same day, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that 18 countries would reach the 2% target.

On March 13, the spokeswoman of the White House, Karine Jean-Pierre, said that the American administration hopes that the number of NATO countries, which will increase their contributions to defense needs to 2% of their own GDP, will increase in the coming months, ahead of the summit in Washington.

On March 21, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas called on the countries that are part of the Ramstein coalition and 15 other countries of the world to allocate 0.25% of their gross domestic product for military aid to Ukraine.