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US State Department: Russia will not stop Ukraine's path to NATO

by The Kyiv Independent news desk July 12, 2023 12:11 PM 2 min read
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Ukraine will become a member of NATO regardless of Russia's position on the matter, U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said during a press briefing on July 12.

"Russia said before this war began is that they were firmly opposed to Ukraine joining NATO, and they wanted an ironclad commitment that Ukraine would never join NATO, and we made clear that was not on the table, that we maintained NATO’s 'Open Door' policy," he said.

"We reiterate that commitment today, and we made clear today that Ukraine will become a member of NATO."

NATO allies adopted a three-part support package for Ukraine, which includes removing the requirement to undergo the Membership Action Plan, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said during the Vilnius summit on July 11.

Ukraine will receive an invitation to join NATO when "the allies agree, and conditions are met," Stoltenberg said at the summit's press conference without providing further details.

"This is a strong package for Ukraine. And a clear path towards its membership in NATO," he added, reaffirming that Ukraine "will become a member of NATO."

However, President Volodymyr Zelensky, who arrived in Vilnius  on July 11, expressed his discontent over the lack of real timeframe and invitation to join NATO.

While en route to Vilnius, Zelensky said that he had "received signals that certain wording is being discussed without Ukraine," noting that the "wording is about the invitation to become NATO member, not about Ukraine's membership."

"It's unprecedented and absurd when a time frame is not set neither for the invitation nor for Ukraine's membership. While at the same time vague wording about 'conditions' is added even for inviting Ukraine," the president tweeted.

Ukraine applied for a fast-track accession to NATO in September 2022, half a year after Russia started the full-scale invasion.

While acknowledging the country cannot enter the alliance before the war's end, Kyiv has repeatedly called for an invitation or a "clear signal" on the membership from the allies at the Vilnius summit.

Editorial: A smart NATO would seek Ukraine’s accession
Editor’s note: Editorials are articles that present the opinion of the editorial team of the Kyiv Independent. When one looks at the history of the West supporting Ukraine in the fight against Russia, one pattern shines through: missed opportunities. The whole war is ripe with opportunity for NATO…
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