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NATO will not set dates for Ukraine's membership at Washington summit - Stoltenberg

NATO will not set dates for Ukraine's membership at Washington summit - Stoltenberg NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

During the NATO summit in Washington, there will be "any dates" regarding Ukraine's membership in the Alliance. Meanwhile, member countries are undertaking appropriate actions to bring Ukraine closer to joining as soon as the necessary political conditions are met, according to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

"I expect that we will find an agreement on some language which sends a clear message about Ukraine's membership perspectives and that Ukraine will become a member of the alliance," explained the NATO Secretary General.

He said that this issue must be "negotiated among NATO allies."

When pressed by the media on whether the ongoing conflict is an obstacle to Ukraine's entry into the Alliance, Stoltenberg responded that allies do not have a specific definition of obstacles.

"It is difficult, of course, to invite Ukraine when there is a war going on. On the other hand, it's also hard to say that there is no way to do that as long as there is a conflict with Russia, because that (gives) Russia an incentive to continue the conflict," he explained.

Ukraine's path to NATO standards

Speaking on Monday, June 17, in Washington, Stoltenberg said that NATO allies are actively working to ensure Ukraine meets the Alliance's standards. He added that the supply of Western weapons is aiding the Ukrainian army's transition to operational compatibility with NATO forces.

"We are going to move Ukraine closer by helping them to meet all NATO standards to be more and more interoperable with NATO by removing the requirements for Membership Action Plan, and also by deepening political cooperation in the NATO Ukraine Council, and then we will make a decision when the time is right," said the head of the North Atlantic Alliance.

According to Stoltenberg, if Ukraine is prepared now, it could quickly gain NATO membership once it receives the consent of all member countries.

Stoltenberg said that allies are helping bring Ukraine to a position where it can become a member of the alliance as soon as the necessary political conditions are met and when there is a consensus among the allies—then there will be no obstacles to inviting Ukraine and for it to be able to become NATO member.

Ukraine's NATO membership bid

Ukraine officially applied for NATO membership seven months after Russia's full-scale invasion. At that time, the application indicated that Kyiv expected an accelerated accession process to the alliance without the so-called Membership Action Plan.

Recently, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Kyiv is already preparing for the upcoming NATO summit, which will be held on July 11 in Washington.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna said that Washington and Berlin are opposed to officially inviting Kyiv to join the alliance.

Today, we reported that White House National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby emphasized the need for Ukraine to win the war to gain membership in the Alliance.

For more on Ukraine's path to the Alliance since independence, read the RBC-Ukraine's coverage.