The heads of state and government of the 31 member countries of the NATO have reiterated this Tuesday that the future of Ukraine is within the Atlantic Alliance, but they have avoided specifying the timetable or roadmap for kyiv’s accession. A lack of definition that has angered the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelenskywhich denounces that this minimum agreement gives wings to the Kremlin to continue the war.
“We will be in a position to extend an invitation to Ukraine to join the Alliance when allies agree and conditions are met“, reads the statement unanimously approved by NATO leaders at the end of the first session of the annual summit in Vilnius.
Despite Zelensky’s protests, Jens Stoltenberg has defended that it is about a “positive, strong and united message to Ukraine”. “This is a practical way of bringing Ukraine closer to NATO, where it belongs,” insisted the recently renewed Alliance Secretary General.
[Zelenski protesta por la negativa de la OTAN a ofrecerle un calendario de adhesión: “Es absurdo”]
What are the conditions that kyiv does not meet now to enter the club? The General Secretary replies that the Zelensky government must modernize defense and security institutions and improve their governancein particular as regards the fight against corruption.
But the most important factor is “right now there is a war going on in the Ukraine.” “Ukrainian forces have shown a bravery and competence that has impressed the whole world, but at the same time there is an open war. All the allies agree that While there is a war going on, this is not the time to make Ukraine a NATO member.“, admits Stoltenberg.
In parallel with vague promises about membership, NATO leaders have endorsed a multi-year military support plan for kyiv, whose objective is to promote transit from Soviet standards to those of the Atlantic Alliance. Besides, a NATO-Ukraine Council will be createdwhich celebrates its inaugural meeting this Wednesday in Vilnius with the presence of Zelenski and which represents a new forum for permanent consultation.
Finally, the kyiv government remains exempted from complying with the Membership Action Plan, This means that once you have the green light to join NATO, “instead of two steps to membership, there will only be one step,” Stoltenberg explained.
“The most urgent task now is to ensure that Ukraine prevailsbecause unless Ukraine prevails, there will be nothing to discuss about accession”, maintains the secretary general. In this sense, NATO leaders have announced new packages of military aid to Kiev: France will supply long-range cruise missiles, Germany it will send air defenses and armored vehicles and the United States is preparing a new assistance package.