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Kuleba, Stoltenberg discuss Ukraine's next steps toward NATO membership

by Martin Fornusek August 29, 2023 11:34 PM 2 min read
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg (R) welcomes Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba to give joint statements on the sidelines of a NATO - North Atlantic Council (NAC) Foreign Affairs ministers' meeting, at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, on April 4, 2023. (Photo credit: KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images)
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Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba held a telephone call with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Ukraine's next steps on its path to the Alliance membership, Kuleba said on Aug. 29.

"We discussed the adapted Annual National Program and a full-fledged rollout of the Ukraine-NATO Council," the Ukrainian minister said.

While Ukraine did not receive the much-desired invitation to join NATO during the Vilnius summit in July, the Alliance agreed to tighten cooperation with Kyiv by launching the Ukraine-NATO Council as a consultation and coordination platform.

Following its inaugural session during the summit, the Council convened again on July 26 to discuss security in the Black Sea region after Russia's one-sided termination of the Black Sea Grain Initiative and increased Russian strikes against Ukrainian ports.

NATO leaders also consented that Ukraine may skip the Membership Action Plan, shortening the steps Kyiv has to take on its path to the accession.

According to Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanishyna, the membership progress will be measured according to the adapted Annual National Program (ANP), which is expected to be "very short."

The ANP should focus mainly on the military interoperability of Ukrainian and NATO forces and the implementation of NATO standards in the defense and security sectors,  Stefanishyna said.

During the phone call, Kuleba also informed Stoltenberg of Ukraine's preparations for the first Defense Industries Forum. Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said earlier that the event will likely take place in late September with the participation of around 50 important players in the arms market.

Ukraine gets a fraction of what it wanted at NATO summit
Ukraine collected many promises at Vilnius, except the one it craved the most. In a joint communique, the 31 NATO member states said Ukraine’s future is in the alliance, which it will one day join. They got rid of the need for a Membership Action Plan, effectively reducing the number
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