Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen is in Washington for a meeting on Monday with US President Joe Biden.
The Danes have played a leading role in the recently launched effort to train and eventually equip Ukraine with American-made F-16 fighter jets.
But the US administration may have yet another reason to extend the White House invitation to Frederiksen, who was re-elected last fall, as NATO looks to find a replacement for Jens Stoltenberg as secretary general later this year.
Any potential candidate would need the Americans’ tacit seal of approval, and meeting with Biden is seen as a necessary stepping stone if the leftist Danish prime minister can be seriously considered for the job.
Counting in Frederiksen for the role, if she wanted it, there has never been a female NATO secretary general. Counting against her is the fact that the current secretary-general is also from a Nordic country, and another former Danish prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, served as her before.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spoke to his Defense Secretary Ben Wallace about the job on Monday.
Danish military cooperation on Ukraine
Denmark has bought dozens of American-made F-16s since the 1970s and has indicated it is open to the possibility of supplying some to Ukraine.
The F-16 deal is among several recent high-profile efforts by the United States and Europe focused on bolstering Western resolve as the war continues. Moscow officials said Ukrainian forces were making a major effort to break through Russian defensive lines in southeastern Ukraine for a second day on Monday. Authorities in Kiev have not confirmed the attacks and have suggested the claim was a Russian disinformation ploy.
Last week, Frederiksen was among 45 European leaders who traveled to Moldova for the first European Political Community summit, where they stressed support for Eastern European ambitions to move closer to the West and keep Moscow at bay.
Biden is also expected to discuss with Frederiksen preparations for next month’s NATO summit in Lithuania, which comes amid Zelenskyy’s growing pressure on the alliance on NATO to offer Ukraine concrete security guarantees and a clear path for Kiev to eventually get membership in the group.
The 31-member alliance is also seeking to strengthen Ukraine’s non-member status in NATO and prepare a framework for the security engagements it can offer once the war with Russia is over.