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NATO to provide Ukraine with security package as 'bridge' to membership

NATO to provide Ukraine with security package as 'bridge' to membership US Ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith (Twitter)
Author: Maria Kholina

NATO plans to hand over a security assistance package to Ukraine during the Alliance's annual summit this summer in Washington. However, it is expected that NATO will not grant Ukraine's long-standing request for membership in the Alliance amid the Russian invasion, citing Defense News.

According to US Ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith, in addition to the announcement of the aid package, about 32 countries have signed several bilateral agreements to support Ukraine before the summit, of which 13 have already been completed.

“Allies will be putting forward a whole package of deliverables that will serve as a bridge to their membership inside the alliance. Part of the package will be the language we use to describe Ukraine’s membership aspirations in the declaration itself,” she said.

According to her, part of this will be institutionalizing some of the bilateral support that is currently being provided to Ukraine and placing it under NATO command.

“Part of it will be working to identify new resources for our friends in Ukraine, and ensuring that we send a signal to Moscow that the NATO alliance isn’t going anywhere,” Smith added.

Ukraine's accession to NATO

In September 2022, after the start of Russia's full-scale invasion, Ukraine officially applied for membership in the North Atlantic Alliance.

Last year, at the Bucharest Summit, NATO member states reaffirmed their support for Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic aspirations and identified three key steps on the path to membership. At the Bucharest Summit, it was decided to abandon the format of a Membership Action Plan (MAP) for Ukraine. This demonstrates that NATO recognizes Ukraine's readiness for membership and seeks to accelerate its integration process.

Recently, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made it clear that he is confident in Ukraine's membership in NATO after winning the war against Russia. This statement underscores Ukraine's unwavering determination to become a member of the Alliance.

However, Ukraine has previously rejected the offer of NATO membership without the territories temporarily occupied by Russia. The Ukrainian government has said that the return of all occupied territories is an integral part of the NATO membership process.