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'Bridge' to NATO membership: Stoltenberg expects approval of substantial aid package for Ukraine

'Bridge' to NATO membership: Stoltenberg expects approval of substantial aid package for Ukraine Photo: Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General (Vitalii Nosach, RBC-Ukraine)

NATO leaders may approve a substantial aid package for Ukraine during the summit. It is intended to serve as a "bridge" for Ukraine on its path to joining the Alliance, according to a statement by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on the sidelines of the NATO summit during his approach to the press.

Aid package

"On Ukraine, I expect that allies will approve a substantial aid package which will consist of five elements," the Secretary General noted.

According to him, these are:

  • NATO command presence in Ukraine to provide security assistance and soldier training;
  • Long-term commitment to continue supporting Ukraine;
  • New announcements of immediate military assistance, including in air defense;
  • New bilateral security agreements between NATO countries and Ukraine;
  • Steps towards achieving full operational compatibility between NATO and Ukraine militaries, including a new training center in Poland.

"Altogether, these five elements constitute a strong 'bridge' for Ukraine to membership of the alliance. And I’m confident that allies will then reiterate the commitment to that Ukraine will become a member of Nato," Stoltenberg added.

Strong message for Ukraine

Journalists also asked the Secretary-General whether Ukraine's path to NATO should be "irreversible."

"I expect that allies will agree strong message on membership for Ukraine. I will refrain from commenting until we have the statement agreed," Stoltenberg said.

He added that he believes the summit's final statement will be agreed upon today.

Supply of Patriots

The Secretary-General was also asked if Ukraine could receive seven Patriot air defense systems following the summit. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had previously requested such supplies.

According to Stoltenberg, after Zelenskyy's request, NATO allies have been diligently working on decisions regarding the transfer of air defense systems.

"And we have now the announcements by President Biden and several other allies yesterday that they will be able to deliver five new advanced strategic air defense systems, from the United States, Italy, Romania, the Netherlands, and also from one more ally. On top of that, we will also then ensure that they (in Ukraine - ed.) will have more tactical air defense systems, including NASAMS," the Secretary-General added.

NATO summit in Washington

The jubilee NATO summit is taking place in Washington from July 9 to 11. Ukraine is participating in it - President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has arrived for the event.

During the summit, US President Joe Biden has already announced the transfer of an additional Patriot air defense system to Ukraine.

For more details on the first outcomes of the summit for Ukraine, see the material by RBC-Ukraine.