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Assurances that Ukraine’s future is in NATO and new security guarantees calm worries at final day of summit

Wednesday, 12 July, 2023, 23:54
Assurances that Ukraine’s future is in NATO and new security guarantees calm worries at final day of summit

Security guarantees from leading nations and assurances that Ukraine’s future lies in NATO on Wednesday appeared to calm brewing worries that Ukrainian frustrations at not being admitted to the alliance would overshadow one of the most significant bloc summits in recent memory.

President Joe Biden and G7 leaders unveiled a substantial show of support for Ukraine Wednesday at the NATO Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, offering a joint declaration of support for Ukraine aimed at bolstering the war-torn country’s military capability.

Biden acknowledged that the alliance did not invite Ukraine to membership during the summit as it works on “necessary reforms,” but, he said, “We’re not waiting on that process to be finished” to boost the country’s security. Biden has emphasized that Ukraine is not ready to enter NATO, telling CNN in an exclusive interview last week that Russia’s war in Ukraine needs to end before the alliance can consider adding Kyiv to its ranks.

“Mr. Zelensky and I talked about the kind of guarantees we could make in the meantime… And so today, the long-term commitments we’re making are backed up by the notion that in the meantime, we’re going to provide security to Ukraine for its needs and against any aggression that may occur.”

Ukraine has been a dominant item on the summit’s agenda as the US president looks to keep the group united behind President Volodymyr Zelensky in the face of Russia’s invasion. Zelensky arrived in Lithuania on Tuesday and had issued a blistering statement expressing his frustration at not receiving more specific details on when and how Ukraine would join the alliance.

However, it appears he heard enough to go home happy, saying, “The results of the summit are good” in a news conference with the alliance’s chief. Among the moves NATO took was agreeing to remove one requirement for Ukrainian entrance to the group – a Membership Action Plan – given Kyiv’s close relationship with NATO nations. It did not provide a firm timeline for when the Ukrainians will become official members.