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The U.K. would be very supportive if Ukraine was able to skip NATO's "membership action plan" (MAP) and join the alliance through a simplified process, U.K. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said at the Ukraine Recovery Conference in London on June 21, as reported by the Guardian.
"I think the U.K.'s position would be very, very supportive if we moved on from the membership action plan recognizing that the offer to both Sweden and Finland didn't require that and Ukrainians have demonstrated their commitment to reform the military for the requirement of NATO membership through their actions on the battlefield," Cleverly said, as quoted by the media.
"I think all NATO allies recognize that," he added.
On June 17, however, U.S. President Joe Biden said he wouldn't ease barriers to Ukraine's membership in NATO because the country has to meet the same standards as other members.
"I think they've done everything related to demonstrating the ability to coordinate militarily, but there's a whole issue of, is their system secure? Is it non-corrupt? Does it meet all the standards everyone, every other nation in NATO, does? I think it will. I think it can. But it's not automatic," he said.
Biden's stance contradicts previous reports that he had supported a proposal by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to announce that Ukraine does not need to implement a MAP to join NATO, according to Axios, citing two people familiar with the matter.
If other allies accept Stoltenberg's proposal, Ukraine will follow the path of new member Finland, which skipped the MAP process.
MAP 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.
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.