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CNN: Allies debating what commitment to give Ukraine on NATO membership

by Rachel Amran June 20, 2024 1:35 AM 2 min read
The NATO star is seen through a window at NATO headquarters in front of the flags of the 32 member countries on the second and final day of the NATO Defense Ministers' Meeting on June 14, 2024, in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo by Omar Havana/Getty Images)
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The United States and allies are debating what to commit to Ukraine's NATO membership at the upcoming 75th anniversary summit in Washington, CNN reported on June 19. U.S. officials are reportedly facing criticism from European countries for not willing to go as far as countries closer to Russia would prefer.

Kyiv did not receive the much-desired invitation nor a firm deadline to join the alliance during last year's 2023 NATO summit in Vilnius, even though NATO took steps to tighten cooperation. Ukrainian officials have voiced hope that the Washington meeting, scheduled for July 9-11, will bring a more definite signal.

According to CNN, US and German officials have proposed giving Ukraine a "bridge" to NATO at next month's summit rather than an "irreversible path" that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg specified earlier this year and is currently favored by the UK and numerous Eastern and Central European countries.

A senior American official told CNN that the Biden Administration does not think the word "irreversible" would earn the support of the entire alliance, particularly Hungary. The U.S. reportedly believes it is close to an agreement with allies on the language.

One Central European diplomat said that "most Central Eastern European countries are disappointed by the Biden administration’s ambiguity and procrastination” in outlining a concrete path forward for Ukraine's entrance into NATO.

A second official said that European allies had been directly lobbying the White House to push for a commitment to Ukraine's NATO membership.

Earlier this year, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that a consensus had not been reached among NATO member states regarding Ukraine's entrance but that the alliance is "currently working on it."

Stoltenberg also said that the alliance aims to help Ukraine get as close as possible to NATO standards as part of its integration process, adding that there is "a lot of work ahead."

"At the same time, we need to make you [Ukraine] as interoperable as possible. And integrate you as much as we can," he said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in turn, noted that Ukraine will join NATO only after Russia's full-scale invasion ends. The president hopes that Ukraine's victory against Russia will help to reach a perfect agreement among all NATO member states.

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