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NATO summit declaration to contain 'new language' on Ukraine's membership, US ambassador says

by Kateryna Denisova and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 29, 2024 8:29 PM 2 min read
A campaign slogan for Ukraine's NATO membership is seen on a bus during the NATO Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, on July 11, 2023. (Photo by Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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NATO's July summit in Washington will contain new language regarding Ukraine's membership in the alliance, U.S. Ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith said during a briefing in Prague on May 29, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported.

Kyiv did not receive the much-desired invitation nor a firm deadline to join the alliance during the 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.

Ukraine is unlikely to receive a membership invitation at the alliance's July summit, Julianne said, echoing statements by other officials. However, work on further support for Kyiv on its way to NATO is ongoing, she added.

"It (NATO's declaration) will not look exactly the same as the one we had last year. We have to agree on this. The alliance has some very important and useful ideas, some interesting proposals,” Julianne said.

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One of the ideas under discussion is the appointment of a NATO representative to Ukraine to oversee efforts to support the country, according to the ambassador.

“We are looking at ways to identify and provide additional resources for our friends in Ukraine... This would send a sustained message to Moscow that none of us are stepping away, and that NATO allies are willing to make a long-term commitment to our friends in Ukraine,” Julianne added.

Her remarks came after reports that Kyiv will not advance further towards NATO membership at this year’s annual summit due to concerns that the alliance could be drawn into a war with Russia.

The upcoming event can be "highly focused" on the creation of a roadmap for Ukraine to join the alliance in the future, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in April.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the alliance's former secretary general, said that NATO's invitation to Ukraine "would be a controversial and at least an unprecedented decision to take."

Rasmussen nevertheless suggested that this step could serve as "an instrument" to ending Russia's war.

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