NATO Outlines 3-Part Package to Bring Ukraine Closer to Alliance

July 12, 2023

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday outlined a three-part package to bring “Ukraine closer to NATO.”

The plan, introduced during the 2023 NATO Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, will establish a new NATO-Ukraine council, reaffirming that Ukraine will eventually become a member of NATO and “removing the requirement for the membership action plans,” Stoltenberg said.

He added, “Ukraine is now closer to NATO than ever before” and that he “looks forward to the day we meet as allies.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who arrived in Vilnius Tuesday, said that it’s “understandable that Ukraine cannot join NATO when at war” but it would have been ideal if there had been a formal invitation.

Before leaving for the summit Tuesday, Zelensky had asserted that NATO’s “uncertainty is weakness” and that a lack of “readiness” to invite Ukraine into NATO gives Russia “motivation to continue its terror.”

Amid his appearance at the summit, Zelensky said, “Ukraine needs long-range weapons, this deficit is still there” and that he would raise the issue in talks with President Biden, with whom he was scheduled to have a meeting Wednesday.

He also thanked Biden for his approval to send cluster munitions to Ukraine, which Zelensky conceded was a “challenge.”

Stoltenberg agreed that what is “most urgent now is to ensure Ukraine has enough weapons.”

During the NATO Summit French President Emmanuel Macron announced that his military will transfer long-range missiles to Ukraine to support its counteroffensive against Russia. France owns the SCALP-EG cruise missile, with a range of up to 300km (186.4 miles).

“I am grateful for every piece of weapon, especially for long-range weapons,” Zelensky tweeted after meeting with Macron, adding that the pair had discussed the current situation on the battlefield and future defense support.

“The key is defense,” Zelensky wrote.

PHOTO: @ZelenskyyUa

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