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Ukraine expects NATO to provide timetable for entry at Vilnius summit - Kuleba

He noted that Russian aggression against Ukraine has already given the alliance new goals.

Ukraine expects NATO to provide timetable for entry at Vilnius summit - Kuleba
Photo: EPA/UPG

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba is convinced that NATO should accept Ukraine into its ranks because "Kyiv needs the Alliance and the Alliance needs Kyiv", and a political decision on this should be made at the Vilnius NATO summit in July.

The head of Ukraine's diplomacy wrote about this in an article for Foreign Affairs, a translation of which is available on the MFA website.

The foreign minister noted that in the 15 years since the NATO summit in Bucharest, Ukraine has heard many arguments why it cannot join NATO. The newest argument against Ukraine's accession is that this issue allegedly divides the Alliance.

"This has been said in Europe before by those who sought to block Ukraine's path to EU membership. A year ago, they argued that the issue of Ukraine's candidacy was dividing the EU. But when in June 2022 all 27 EU member states supported granting Ukraine this status, the EU felt new unity, purpose and strength. The same will happen with NATO when a clear decision on Ukraine's path to membership is made," Kuleba said.

He noted that Russia's aggression against Ukraine has already given the Alliance new strength and new goals.

"Finland has joined NATO after overcoming differences with its allies. Sweden will also go this way, and later Ukraine may follow. It is only a matter of political will. If we focus on what divides us, we will be divided. But if we look for practical solutions, NATO will become stronger and more united. It's time to stop making excuses and finally recognise that there is no alternative to Ukraine's full membership if NATO's goal is to ensure the security of the Euro-Atlantic community," the foreign minister stressed.

In his opinion, at the upcoming NATO Summit in Vilnius, NATO member states should send a clear written signal to Russia that "the game is over: Ukraine is a part of the West, it is on the doorstep of the Alliance and will soon enter its doors".

NATO should also avoid the temptation to impose additional requirements on Ukraine that would further delay its membership, the minister said.

"Instead, NATO should take a political decision that either sets a timetable for Ukraine's accession directly at the Vilnius Summit or commits to presenting it by the end of 2023. Accession is a process, and achieving the ultimate goal of Ukraine's full membership in the Alliance will depend, among other things, on the security situation, but this process should begin immediately," the head of Ukrainian diplomacy stressed.

In his opinion, it would be advisable for NATO members to decide what security guarantees they want to offer Ukraine now, before accession, and which of these guarantees will continue to be in place after Ukraine becomes a member of NATO (apart from those enshrined in the North Atlantic Treaty).

On 11 April, the Ukrainian parliament appealed to NATO members to speed up Ukraine's accession to the Alliance.

Later, during a meeting with Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Ukraine should find a place in the Euro-Atlantic family, and that Ukraine's place is rightfully in NATO.

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