Ukraine will be invited to join NATO as soon as it has won the war. This was declared by long-time NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg during yesterday’s press conference at the ongoing summit in Vilnius, Lithuania.
– Ukraine’s future is in NATO, Stoltenberg said.
NATO has reaffirmed its goal of granting Ukraine membership in the near future. Kiev has asked for a timetable for NATO membership, but no such timetable has been presented.
– We reaffirm the commitment we made at the 2008 summit in Bucharest that Ukraine will become a member of NATO, and today we recognize that Ukraine’s path to full Euro-Atlantic integration has moved beyond the need for the Membership Action Plan
The joint statement made clear that Ukraine will be invited to membership only when the situation permits, but that it will be allowed to bypass the so-called Membership Action Plan normally required of aspirant members.
Ukraine will become a NATO member without the MAP – Stoltenberg
However, this will only happen after all NATO members agree. pic.twitter.com/Wlw3YmNtt9
— Maria Drutska 🇺🇦 (@maria_drutska) July 11, 2023
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg elaborated on the issue, saying that NATO must first ensure that Ukraine achieves victory in its war with Russia. If this is not achieved, NATO membership will be out of the question, he warned.
Zelenskyj: “We are de facto already in”
Yesterday’s pledge did not go down well with Ukrainian officials. Kiev has repeatedly called on the US and the military alliance to accept the country directly, or at least issue an official invitation now.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi also made a clear last-ditch attempt on social media to influence the alliance’s joint statement hours before it was released.
“When we applied to join @NATO, we were frank: 🇺🇦 is de facto already in the Alliance. Our weapons are the weapons of the Alliance”, he wrote on Twitter.
The security reality here on NATO's eastern flank depends on Ukraine. When we applied to join @NATO, we were frank: 🇺🇦 is de facto already in the Alliance. Our weapons are the weapons of the Alliance. Our values are what the Alliance believes in. Our defense is the very element… pic.twitter.com/V9I5wYh2j7
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) July 10, 2023
– The alliance will support Ukraine in making these reforms on its path towards future membership. We will be in a position to extend an invitation to Ukraine to join the alliance when allies agree and conditions are met, NATO’s statement concluded.
For many years, neighboring Russia’s line has been that Ukraine should be kept out of NATO because of Ukraine’s geographic location and its perceived negative attitude toward Russia. The risk of Ukrainian membership in the U.S.-led alliance has been cited by Russia as a key factor in its military intervention in the country.