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Kuleba: Ukraine joining NATO does not require Membership Action Plan
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on April 14 that NATO's Membership Action Plan (MAP) is no longer a necessary step for Ukraine's path to joining the military alliance.
On April 10, the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, appealed to NATO member states to accelerate Ukraine's membership process, including "the decision of the Bucharest NATO Summit in 2008 regarding Ukraine's membership," according to lawmaker Oleksiy Honcharenko.
Kuleba clarified on April 14 that the parliament's reference to the Bucharest Summit should not be misconstrued as a requirement for Ukraine to implement the MAP on its path to NATO membership, given that the two are intertwined.
"They mentioned the decision in Bucharest; I understand them because the decision of the Bucharest summit is the foundation of the idea that Ukraine will be in NATO," Kuleba said.
However, he added that he would "read this statement of the Ukrainian parliament in the context that we were promised membership in Bucharest, and it is time to grant it, but not in connection with the MAP."
NATO's Membership Action Plan is a program that provides "advice, assistance, and practical support" customized to the unique needs of each country seeking to meet the requirements for joining the military alliance.
However, it is the start of a bureaucratic dialogue that does not necessarily guarantee membership in the military alliance.
For example, NATO says on its website that Bosnia and Herzegovina was invited to participate in the MAP back in 2010, officially launching it in 2018. The country has still not received a formal invitation to join the military alliance.
Meanwhile, Finland and Sweden applied to join NATO in May 2022 in response to Russia's all-out war in Ukraine. NATO officially signed the accession protocol for Finland to join the military alliance in July 2022.
Finland officially became the 31st member of the military alliance during the April 4 formal ceremony at NATO headquarters in Brussels.
Ukraine applied for a fast-track NATO accession on Sept. 30 after Russia illegally claimed the annexation of Ukrainian territory. However, until Russia's war against Ukraine ends, the country's prospects of definitive NATO membership remain uncertain.