- As far as this year NATO summit is concerned, Ukraine is the main focus. Though NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg claims that Ukraine is “closer to NATO than ever before,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has criticized what he views as inconsistencies in laying out Ukraine’s time frame for membership.
President Volodymyr Zelensky criticized the “absurd” delay to accession, but “itions are met.”
NATO acknowledged the need to move more quickly but declined to provide a timeframe in a communiqué.
Earlier, Mr. Zelensky stated that there appeared to be “no readiness” to invite or admit Ukraine to NATO.
He is currently in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, where the summit is taking place.
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Despite acknowledging that it cannot join NATO while at war with Russia, Kyiv hopes to do so as soon as the combat is over.
Prior to Mr. Stoltenberg’s remarks, Mr. Zelensky, however, tweeted that the absence of a timetable meant that the eventual membership of his nation could end up being used as a negotiating chip.
“A window of opportunity is being left to bargain Ukraine’s membership in Nato in negotiations with Russia. Uncertainty is weakness,” he said.
Ukraine may have joined NATO at any time, though NATO has not specified when or how. Diplomats emphasized, however, that the lengthy application procedure had been greatly simplified and that they had laid out a clearer path to membership.
The alliance acknowledged that Ukraine’s army was becoming more “politically integrated” and “interoperable” with Nato forces and promised to continue supporting changes to Ukraine’s democracy and security sector.
Diplomats also emphasized the formation of a new NATO-Ukraine Council, which met for the first time on Wednesday and will grant Kiev the authority to call sessions of the whole alliance.
But the decision to give no sense of timescale will be seen as a setback for Ukraine.
Even though such detail was always unlikely, Mr Zelensky’s decision to say the absence of a timetable was “absurd” only emphasised his diplomatic failure.
Some member states fear near-automatic membership for Ukraine could give Russia an incentive to both escalate and prolong the war.
The focus now will move to what long-term security guarantees NATO members will promise Ukraine as an alternative to early membership.