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Stoltenberg says Vilnius summit will agree on 3-part package 'to bring Ukraine closer to NATO'

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk July 7, 2023 4:23 PM 2 min read
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg holds a press conference about the NATO Summit on 11-12 July, in Brussels, Belgium on July 7, 2023. (Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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NATO member states are expected to adopt a three-part package "to bring Ukraine closer" to the alliance during its next summit in Vilnius, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on July 7.

The package will include a multi-year support program "to ensure full interoperability" between the Ukrainian forces and NATO, according to Stoltenberg. Allies will also establish the NATO-Ukraine Council "to upgrade political ties" as well as reaffirm that Ukraine will become a NATO member.

NATO chief told reporters that President Volodymyr Zelensky would join the inaugural meeting of the new Council, adding that he "looks forward to welcoming" the Ukrainian leader at the summit.

However, Stoltenberg didn't confirm whether Zelensky would attend the event in person, a possibility subject to active discussions in recent weeks.

Earlier, Zelensky said that "there is no point" in Kyiv's attendance of the Vilnius summit, scheduled for July 11-12, unless the alliance offers a membership invitation or "some kind of signal."

At a pre-summit press conference, the NATO chief pledged to assist Ukraine in developing the security and defense sector, including military hospitals. Allies will also help Ukraine transition from Soviet-era to NATO equipment and standards, Stoltenberg added.

Ukraine applied to join NATO in September 2022. While acknowledging the country cannot enter the alliance before the war's end, Ukrainian leadership has repeatedly called for a "clear signal" on the membership from the allies during the upcoming summit.

Dietzen, Druckman: Vilnius NATO Summit – Accelerating Ukraine’s membership and deterring Moscow and Minsk
This month’s NATO summit takes place at a time of both peril and opportunity for the future of European security. The Wagner Group’s June 24 sprint from Rostov to the gates of Moscow dealt a fresh blow to criticism of NATO’s decision to extend a Membership Action
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