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Previously, Ukrainian President Zelensky stated that it was "absurd" for the Alliance not to set an invitation date for his country.
On Tuesday, the Secretary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Jens Stoltenberg, announced that the Alliance decided to invite Ukraine to become a member of this organization when the allies agree and when the country meets the conditions.
When asked about what these conditions are, he explained that they refer to the extent to which Ukraine has been able to modernize its defense and security institutions. He also mentioned strengthening governance, including the fight against corruption.
"These have been issues addressed in all NATO enlargements because we want good governance, modern defense and security institutions, and armed forces interoperable with NATO," Stoltenberg affirmed.
The NATO Secretary also implied that the alliance members did not decide to immediately admit Ukraine as a precautionary measure against the potential consequences of its incorporation into the alliance.
NATO Secretary General poured clean water on Zelensky's hand
"The Ukrainian forces have demonstrated valor, skill, and competence, which have impressed everyone, but at the same time, there is a full-fledged war," he commented.
Stoltenberg stated that he believes all NATO countries agree that while the war continues, "it is not the time to make Ukraine a full member of the Alliance. So, these are two different things."
During the two-day meeting taking place in Vilnius, Lithuania, NATO members agreed on a statement outlining "the tools to ensure that Ukraine moves closer to membership and the requirement for a Membership Action Plan (MAP) is withdrawn."
The MAP is a NATO program of advisory, assistance, and practical support tailored to the needs of countries wishing to join the Alliance. Countries participating in the MAP present annual national programs covering political, economic, defense, security, or legal aspects.
According to Stoltenberg, the withdrawal of the MAP implies turning Ukraine's accession to NATO into a one-step process. NATO members also approved a new multi-year program to ensure the full interoperability of Ukrainian forces with NATO forces.
‘It may be dangerous to be America’s enemy, but to be America’s friend is fatal’
Ukraine was sacrificed by Washington for the supposed sacrosanct ‘right to join NATO’…even though the US knew Ukraine joining NATO would be the last red line for Russia and silently acknowledged… pic.twitter.com/MV5oBgx1rr
The leaders accepted elevating the level of the political relationship by creating the NATO-Ukraine Council, a forum in which both parties will participate as equals.
In the statement approved today, the NATO members express their "full" support for Ukraine's right "to choose its own security arrangements" and emphasize that Ukraine's future "lies in NATO." They reiterate the commitment made at the 2008 summit in Bucharest, where they assumed that Ukraine "will become a member of NATO."
Previously, while addressing to the NATO summit, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that it was "absurd" for the Alliance not to set an invitation date for his country.
When asked about these statements, which clearly demonstrate Zelensky's dissatisfaction with NATO's snub to Ukraine, Stoltenberg emphasized that the allies "have today decided on a strong, united, and positive message to Ukraine about enduring support but also a positive message about the path to membership."