The United States, Germany, and Hungary oppose the efforts by some other NATO allies to offer Ukraine a "road map" for membership at the alliance's July summit in Vilnius, the Financial Times reported, citing officials involved in the talks.
The two officials present at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels this week told the FT there was an intense debate on what exactly should be offered to Ukraine during the alliance's next summit in Lithuania.
While all NATO members agree that Ukraine's membership cannot be discussed seriously amid Russia's war, a growing number of allies have backed proposing Ukraine a "political path" to membership, which would "thicken" relations between the alliance and Kyiv.
However, according to the FT sources, Washington, Berlin, and Budapest oppose the proposal, pushed by countries such as Poland and the Baltic states. Instead, the U.S. urged allies to focus on providing Kyiv with short-term security, humanitarian and financial assistance to ensure Ukraine repels Russian aggression.
"In order for us to get to the question of when and how to get Ukraine into the alliance, we must, as the secretary-general has noted, 'ensure that Ukraine prevails as a sovereign, independent nation,'" a senior U.S. official said, as cited by FT.
Ukraine applied for a fast-track NATO accession in September last year after Russia claimed the annexation of four Ukrainian regions. Ukrainian officials have voiced their hopes to receive additional assurances about joining NATO at the Vilnius summit, scheduled for July 11-12.
President Volodymyr Zelensky, invited by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, said that he would only attend the summit if presented with concrete steps towards NATO membership, namely post-war security guarantees or deepening cooperation with the alliance.
Zelensky also claimed Ukraine would not agree to alternative proposals that could replace NATO membership.