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US Ambassador doubts NATO will issue membership invitation to Ukraine at Washington summit

by Kateryna Denisova February 14, 2024 12:15 AM 2 min read
Flag of NATO is seen in front of the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, Poland on October 23, 2023. (Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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U.S. Ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith doesn’t expect NATO will offer Ukraine a membership invitation at the alliance's July summit in Washington, she said at a press conference on Feb. 13.

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

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According to Smith, there are no such plans “at this juncture.” She expects that allies will instead be able to signal that “NATO continues to move closer to Ukraine.”

“And that we are taking concrete steps to serve as a bridge between where we are now and that full-fledged membership,” Smith said, adding the alliance will demonstrate to Russian President Vladimir Putin that it is not “going anywhere in terms of our support” for Ukraine.

The U.S. Ambassador to NATO noted that since the summit in Vilnius, allies have been working to continue to help Ukraine with the needed reforms on its path to Euro-Atlantic integration.

“We continue to focus, first and foremost, on supporting them in the current fight and ensuring that they can prevail on the battlefield,” she said.

Earlier, 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.”

However, he suggested that this step could serve as “an instrument” to ending Russia’s war.

Ex-NATO chief: Not inviting Ukraine to join alliance gives Putin incentive to continue the war
NATO should extend an invitation to Ukraine at the Washington Summit in July, as it could serve as “an instrument” to ending Russia’s war, the alliance’s former Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said on Jan. 30 in Kyiv. “I know that (NATO’s invitation to Ukraine) would be a
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