Stoltenberg: Ukraine will become NATO member, but no invitation will be issued at Vilnius summit
NATO allies agree that Ukraine will become a member of the alliance but will not consider the issue of its formal invitation to join during the Vilnius summit.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated this today in Berlin during a joint press conference with Chancellor of Germany Olaf Scholz, Ukrinform reports.
"At the Vilnius summit and in the preparations for the summit, we are not discussing to issue a formal invitation," he told reporters after meeting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin. He added the NATO leaders would discuss how to move Ukraine closer to the accession to the alliance.
Stoltenberg cautions against accepting a frozen conflict in Ukraine as a resolution to the war. While all sides acknowledge that Ukraine's NATO membership is unlikely during an ongoing war, Kyiv, supported by the Baltic states and Poland, seeks a specific date or timeline for its potential accession once the war ends.
During the NATO summit in Vilnius on July 11-12, the leaders are expected to adopt an aid package designed to bring Ukraine up to alliance standards within several years.
What we know about Ukraine's accession to NATO
On September 30, 2022, President Volodymyr Zelensky, Chair of the Ukrainian parliament Verkhovna Rada Ruslan Stefanchuk, and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal signed Ukraine's application for accelerated accession to NATO.
On April 10, the Verkhovna Rada appealed to NATO member states and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly to speed up Ukraine's accession into the alliance.
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called for a step towards Ukraine's membership in NATO in Vilnius and remove the Membership Action Plan during a telephone conversation with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Stoltenberg suggested in a private conversation that the members agree that Ukraine can join NATO after the war without implementing the MAP, a series of reforms the applicant country must implement before joining the alliance.
According to POLITICO, NATO members are increasingly supporting simplifying conditions for Ukraine's NATO membership, potentially leading to an official invitation at the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius in July.
US President Joe Biden said that he would not simplify the requirements for Ukraine on the way to NATO.