Kiev is pushing to be quickly allowed to join the Western coalition, bound together by mutual security guarantees. But divisions among NATO’s 31 members mean there won’t be date Or direct invitation to Ukraine to join.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Kiev would get more military aid Security guaranteesfacilitating the formal terms of accession, as well as a new form of cooperation with the Alliance, the so-called NATO-Ukraine Council.
“I expect the Allies to send a clear, united and positive message on the path towards Ukraine’s membership,” Stoltenberg On arriving at the talks, he said he was set to host them.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan also said the meeting would send a “positive signal” about Kiev’s membership bid.
ZelenskyHowever, he did speak out against what he saw as weak wording about Ukraine’s bid for NATO membership.
“It is unprecedented and absurd when no time frame is given, neither for the invitation nor for Ukraine’s membership,” he said on messaging app Telegram before joining the summit as a special guest.
The summit, in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, is taking place as the long-awaited Ukrainian counteroffensive, which began last month, is proceeding more slowly than expected.
Amid numerous pledges of more military aid, French President Emmanuel Macron said Paris would begin supplying long-range missiles to help Ukraine respond to Russian forces that invaded in February 2022.
“I have decided to increase shipments of arms and equipment to enable the Ukrainians to be able to strike deep,” Macron said upon his arrival at the summit.
While NATO members agree Kiev could not join in during the war, they disagree about how quickly that could happen thereafter and under what circumstances.
NATO members in Eastern Europe have supported Kiev’s position, saying that putting Ukraine under NATO’s collective security umbrella is the best way to deter Russia from attacking again.
Countries like the United States and Germany were more wary, wary of any move they feared might draw NATO into direct conflict with Russia.
Diplomats said the text of the final summit agreement could raise the possibility that the alliance would be in a position to “extend an invitation” to Kiev to join “when the allies agree and conditions are met”.
Officials said that could miss those terms. They stressed that the draft agreement had not yet been finalized.
Moscow, which cited NATO’s eastern expansion as a major factor in its decision to invade Ukraine, He criticized the two-day summit.
The official Russian Information Agency (RIA) quoted a senior Russian diplomat based in Vienna as warning that Europe would be the first to confront “Serious consequencesIf the war escalates in Ukraine.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said:necessary arrangements It will be provided to ensure that Ukraine receives post-war security guarantees.
Lithuania’s ambassador to NATO said the summit would commit 500 million euros annually in aid to Ukraine, including medical supplies and mine clearance.
A European diplomatic source said that the G7 security guarantees for Ukraine will be announced immediately after the NATO summit.
Sweden is on its way
While Ukraine was set to be kept waiting, another country seems to have made a breakthrough on its way to NATO membership.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan He agreed late on Monday to submit Sweden’s application to join parliament for approval, appearing to end months of opposition that has soured the bloc.
It was Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 that prompted Sweden – and its northern neighbor Finland – to abandon decades of military non-alignment and apply to join NATO.
Finland became the 31st member of NATO in April, but Sweden’s accession has been held up by a row with Turkey, with Erdogan accusing Sweden of not doing enough to crack down on the militants, whom Ankara considers terrorists.
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and Erdogan agreed to intensify cooperation in the fight against terrorism. Schultz said he would talk to his Turkish counterpart in Vilnius about Ankara’s relations with the European Union.
The United States also promised to proceed with the transfer F-16 fighter jets to TürkiyeSullivan said.
US President Joe Biden said he was “not at all surprised” that Turkey had lifted the veto, and that he was confident Sweden would elect to join NATO.
Written by Sabine Siebold, John Irish, and Steve Holland
(Reporting by John Irish, Andrew Gray, Sabine Siebold, Steve Holland, Justyna Pawlak, Andreus Sitas, Krysztina Than, Niklas Pollard, Jason Hovett, Janice; Writing by Gabriela Bazynska; Editing by Alex Richardson)