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Media: Ukraine not to receive membership invitation at NATO summit, promise to invite later instead

by The Kyiv Independent news desk July 11, 2023 6:57 PM 2 min read
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock chats with colleagues prior to the opening high-level session of the 2023 NATO Summit on July 11, 2023 in Vilnius, Lithuania. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
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NATO member states will not offer Ukraine a membership invitation at the alliance's summit in Vilnius, which began on July 11, Interfax Ukraine reported.

Instead, according to Interfax's sources, a joint communique will be issued promising to invite Ukraine later, when all member states agree with it and when the conditions allow.

The yearly meeting of NATO leaders held this time in the Lithuanian capital has been much anticipated for the possible invitation of Ukraine to the alliance, seen by Kyiv as fundamental for its and Europe's future security from further Russian aggression.

Leaders of several member states, including Poland, the Baltic States, and Canada, have all expressed their public support for Ukraine joining the alliance.

However, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said multiple times in the lead-up to the summit that joining NATO was impossible for Ukraine as long as Russia's war continues on Ukrainian territory.

Instead, Stoltenberg announced at the summit, Ukraine's path towards NATO will be simplified removing the requirement of completing a Membership Action Plan (MAP), representing a change "from a two-step process to a one-step process.”

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Vilnius for the summit on July 11, although he has not so far participated in the main event with all leaders together.

The day before the summit, Zelensky publicly expressed his frustration with the alliance's choice not to admit Ukraine to NATO in any concrete timeframe, calling NATO's lack of clarity "unprecedented and absurd."

Editorial: A smart NATO would seek Ukraine’s accession
Editor’s note: Editorials are articles that present the opinion of the editorial team of the Kyiv Independent. When one looks at the history of the West supporting Ukraine in the fight against Russia, one pattern shines through: missed opportunities. The whole war is ripe with opportunity for NATO…
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