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Sullivan: More steps needed before Ukraine can join NATO

by Martin Fornusek July 8, 2023 1:15 AM 3 min read
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks to the press at the White House on November 10, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo credit: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
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Ukraine still needs to take more steps before joining NATO, U.S. Presidential Advisor Jake Sullivan said at a press conference on July 7.

"The U.S. strongly supports the open-door policy which says that Ukraine and NATO can make a decision on their pathway to membership, and Vilnius will be an important point on that pathway," Sullivan said.

"However, Ukraine still has further steps it needs to take before membership," he commented, adding that "Ukraine will not be joining NATO coming out of this summit."

Ukraine must undergo reforms to reach NATO standards, and the necessary steps will be discussed in Vilnius, the U.S. official said.

The U.S. Ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith stated that Washington insists on certain reforms before Kyiv can enter the Alliance.

"There are standards that the Alliance sets for all members, and the president has made it clear that Ukraine will need to implement these reforms," ​​Smith commented.

Vilnius will, however, satisfy Ukraine's aim to move away from the formulations of the Bucharest summit in 2008, she added. Germany and France blocked Ukraine from joining NATO during the previous summit in Romania's capital.

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

It appears many topics remain undecided and the issue of a faster admission process without the Membership Action Plan is still being discussed, the ambassador revealed. Similarly, there seems to be no consensus on security guarantees for Ukraine, said Amanda Sloat, the National Security Council senior director for Europe.

According to NATO Secertary-General Jens Stoltenberg, NATO member states are expected to adopt a three-part package to bring Ukraine closer to the Alliance during the upcoming summit in Vilnius on July 11-12.

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.

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

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