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Stoltenberg in Kyiv: Ukraine's NATO membership prospects, but decision unlikely at July Summit

Stoltenberg in Kyiv: Ukraine's NATO membership prospects, but decision unlikely at July Summit NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg (Photo: RBC-Ukraine, Vitalii Nosach)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg indicated during a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that consensus among allies on extending Ukraine an invitation to join the Alliance is unlikely at the Washington summit in July.

"Today we discussed preparations for the July NATO summit. So, Mr. President (Volodymyr Zelenskyy - ed.), I look forward to welcoming you to Washington for this meeting," Stoltenberg said.

Stoltenberg expressed the view that Ukraine rightfully belongs in NATO, and member countries will strive to ensure Ukraine's accession.

"To make this decision, we need all NATO members to agree. Not a majority, but consensus among all 32 members," emphasized Stoltenberg.

He expressed doubts about achieving such a result at the July summit. However, he said NATO members can demonstrate progress toward Ukraine's membership and ensure that "this day will come as soon as possible."

Stoltenberg also highlighted the need for Ukraine to become more operationally compatible, fully meet all NATO standards, and become a member when political conditions are met.

"Everything that we are doing now in terms of military support is part of meeting Ukraine's urgent needs," noted Stoltenberg.

He mentioned ongoing discussions about enhancing military support for Ukraine and providing the forces and capabilities to secure their place in the Alliance.

"So, I think we are implementing and must implement the important decisions made in Vilnius: canceling the Membership Action Plan, transitioning from a two-stage to a single-stage process, agreeing to establish the Ukraine-NATO Council, and we also have a large program for operational compatibility," said the NATO Secretary General.

Ukraine and NATO membership

After Russia's full-scale invasion, Ukraine applied for NATO membership. At that time, Kyiv demanded an expedited accession procedure without the so-called Membership Action Plan.

Recently, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that Ukraine is already preparing for the upcoming NATO summit scheduled for July and to be held in the United States. Kyiv seeks an invitation to the Alliance.

The day before, Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna stated that the United States and Germany opposed extending an official invitation to Ukraine to join NATO.

However, Stefanishyna emphasized that the decision to invite Ukraine to NATO is not tied to the Washington summit.