NATO chief, Lithuanian leader say Ukraine needs no formal membership plan to join alliance
At a press conference, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda assured that NATO member states have decided to abolish the requirement for Ukraine to implement a membership action plan on its way to joining the bloc, although discussions are still ongoing.
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"I can say that the Membership Action Plan will be removed, which is a very positive step forward. This will simplify Ukraine's path to NATO," the Lithuanian president said.
According to him, there is also a need for "a very clear signal of the possibility of Ukraine's membership in NATO when conditions allow it."
For his part, Stoltenberg said that consultations are still ongoing regarding the decisions to be made at the NATO summit. At the same time, he is confident that a "clear signal for Ukraine" will be agreed upon at the NATO summit.
"All NATO countries agree that Ukraine will become a NATO member. There will be decisions at the summit that will firmly confirm this. We are eager to discuss this with NATO leaders. I hope that the necessary decision will be agreed upon," Stoltenberg said.
The NATO Secretary General said that he had proposed conditions that should help Ukraine join the Alliance in the future. In particular, these include:
- a practical support program to bring Ukraine closer to NATO;
- creation of a NATO-Ukraine council;
- cancelation of the MAP for Ukraine.
He added that the wording of the decisions still needs to be agreed upon before the package is finalized.
Earlier, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba announced the abolition of the MAP for Ukraine on its way to NATO.
On July 5, 2023, a White House representative said that NATO member states would decide on Ukraine's membership when it "meets all the requirements and carries out the necessary reforms." The Foreign Ministry reacted and called on the West to reform its attitude toward Russia.
John Kirby, the spokesperson for the White House's National Security Council, also said that the NATO summit in Vilnius should not be seen as a "decision point" on specific weapons systems.
Ukraine’s spy chief Kyrylo Budanov said that the expectations of Ukrainian society from the NATO summit "will not be met" and that Ukraine will not be invited to join the Alliance during the event.