With Russia making battlefield gains in Ukraine and tensions between China and the West escalating, a record 23 of NATO's 32 member states will hit the military alliance's defense spending target this year, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, a more than twofold increase compared with before the Ukraine war.

“Europeans are ramping up their defense spending to record-high levels,” the NATO chief said Monday in a speech at a Washington think tank, noting that just five years ago fewer than 10 member states were spending 2% of gross domestic product on defense.

He also hailed both European allies and Canada for providing around half of the military aid flowing to Kyiv, while proposing a long-term financial pledge of at least €40 billion ($43.37 billion) per year for Ukraine as the alliance seeks to institutionalize its support for the war-torn country.