Several of the 30 members of the Alliance believe they should now focus solely on how Russia will be defeated in the war it started.
The NATO maintains its commitment to Ukraine’s membership in the Alliance and pledges military and humanitarian aid to Kyiv.
“NATO’s door is open,” said Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of the Atlantic Alliance, while attending the NATO Foreign Ministers Summit in Bucharest, Romania.
“Russia cannot veto” countries that want to join the Alliance, Mr. Stoltenberg said, stressing that “we insist on Ukraine joining NATO.”
It has been 14 years since the NATO Summit in Bucharest when former US President George W. Bush, Jr., pressed his NATO allies for Ukraine’s membership. Since then the leaders have taken no concrete steps, such as providing Kyiv with an action plan that would set a timetable. However, as the NATO Secretary General made clear, the enlargement of the Alliance will not be delayed.President Putin cannot deny that sovereign nations can make their own sovereign decisions that are not a threat to Russia,” he said.
But, despite Stoltenberg’s statements Ukraine is not expected to join NATO anytime soon. With the Crimean peninsula annexed and Russian soldiers on Ukrainian soil, no one knows what the country’s borders will be in the future.
Several of the Alliance’s 30 members believe they should now focus solely on how Russia will be defeated in the war she started. As Slovakia’s foreign minister, Rástislav Kačer, said, the Allies should help Ukraine so that “the transition to membership is smooth and simple” when NATO and Kyiv are able to start accession talks.
For its part, Ukraine asked for more weapons and mainly anti-aircraft systems and as soon as possible. “We appreciate everything you do for us, but the war continues,” emphasized the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba.
“We will continue to further support Ukraine as it continues to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity and will maintain our support for as long as necessary,” the Alliance’s foreign ministers said in a statement.
Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu, attending the Summit, went a step further, proposing that Alliance members pledge 1% of their GDP to Kyiv for the country’s military aid, although most Alliance Member States find it difficult to spend 2% of their GDP for their own defense budgets.
During the two-day meeting the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, is expected to announce new aid to restore power transmission in the country. Already in their joint statement after the first day of work, the NATO Foreign Ministers underline that “Russia’s aggression, including its persistent and unconscionable attacks on Ukrainian citizens and energy infrastructure, is depriving millions of Ukrainians of basic human services.” In this way they are committed to providing assistance in order to repair the energy infrastructure as winter has now arrived in Ukraine. Cities have been dressed in white, temperatures have dropped below zero and fears that people will die of hypothermia are growing. An indicative example of how critical the situation remains is the latest update from the state energy company. According to this, electricity supply still falls short of needs by 27%.
The Summit, which concludes today, Wednesday, also includes Finland and Sweden as candidate countries, although Turkey and Hungary are threatening to veto the ratification of their applications.
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