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NATO allies will make a "strong decision" on Ukraine's membership bid and confirm it will enter the Alliance, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in his opening remarks on July 11 at the NATO public forum, which is part of the Vilnius summit.
"I am confident that we will make a strong and united decision on Ukraine, both to sustain and to step up our support. I'm also confident...that Allies will reaffirm that Ukraine will become a member," he said.
The NATO chief reminded that Kyiv should receive a three-part package to bring Ukraine closer to the Alliance. This will include ensuring full interoperability between the Ukrainian military and NATO forces, the establishment of the NATO-Ukraine Council, and reaffirming that Ukraine will eventually join the Alliance.
Stoltenberg emphasized NATO's commitment to aid Ukraine's war efforts as it faces heavy Russian resistance during the ongoing counteroffensive. He also noted that Ukrainian troops are gaining ground despite the difficulties.
Regarding the controversial decision by the U.S. to supply Ukraine with cluster munitions, Stoltenberg pointed out that Kyiv plans to use the new arms to defend its own country.
"Cluster munitions have been used by both sides in this war," he said. "The difference is that Russia is using cluster munitions to invade another country, to occupy Ukraine, whereas Ukraine is using cluster munitions to defend against Russian aggression."
The secretary-general added that since Ukraine is running out of conventional ammunition and NATO members do not yet have sufficient capacities to refill Kyiv's stocks, the allies must help the besieged country in any way they can.