NATO chief sees ‘strong message’ on Ukraine’s membership bid at summit – Times of India

Vilnius: NATO Secretary General jens stoltenberg said ukraine There will be a “positive and strong message” on the road to membership on Tuesday as leaders of the western military alliance meet to discuss the fallout invasion of russia who brought the war to their doorstep.
The split among NATO’s 31 members means Ukraine will not receive a direct invitation to join, which Soviet-era overlord Moscow says would threaten its national security.
But Stoltenberg said Kiev would receive more military aid and relaxed formal conditions for joining, as well as a new format of cooperation with the alliance, the so-called NATO-Ukraine Council.
“I am confident that this will be a positive and strong message on Ukraine and the way forward for membership,” Stoltenberg said before hosting a summit in the Lithuanian capital.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan also said the gathering would send a “positive signal” about Kiev’s membership bid. As negotiators edged closer to a final agreement, diplomats were upbeat.
US President Joe Biden, speaking with Lithuanian President Gitanus Nauseda, whose country is extremely wary of the consequences of Russia’s war in Ukraine for Eastern Europe, reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to the alliance.
He said, “Our vow to be with you has not wavered.”
The summit is also set to approve NATO’s first comprehensive plans to defend against any attack by Russia since the end of the Cold War.
Moscow has criticized the two-day summit. Russia’s state RIA news agency quoted a senior Russian diplomat based in Vienna as warning that Europe would be the first to suffer “disastrous consequences” if the war in Ukraine escalates.
Whereas NATO While the members agree that Kiev cannot become involved during the war, they disagree on how soon and under what circumstances it can do so afterwards.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, due to attend the Vilnius gathering, is pressing NATO to create a clear path for Ukraine after the war ends. On Tuesday he said Ukrainian troops were blocking a Russian invasion of Europe.
He said on Twitter, “Ukraine’s eastern border, the border of our state and the position of our warriors is the line that the Russian dictatorship … will never cross again.”
Ukraine is waiting, Sweden is on its way
NATO members in Eastern Europe have supported Kiev’s position, arguing that bringing Ukraine under NATO’s collective security umbrella is the best way to prevent Russia from attacking again.
Countries such as the United States and Germany are more cautious, wary of any move they fear could bring NATO into direct conflict with Russia and potentially spark a global war.
NATO was formed in 1949 with the primary objective of countering the risk of a Soviet attack on Allied territory.
The NATO-Ukraine Council is due to hold its first session in Vilnius on Wednesday, which is not dissimilar to NATO’s coordination forum with Russia since 2002. It closed after Moscow annexed Crimea from Kiev in 2014 and then backed rebel fighters. Eastern Ukraine.
Stoltenberg said Ukraine could now abandon the Membership Action Plan (MAP) – a process of meeting political, economic and military goals before becoming a NATO member.
Lithuania’s NATO ambassador said the summit would pledge Ukraine 500 million euros a year in non-lethal aid, including medical supplies and de-mining. Norway said it would increase military aid to Kiev.
Foreign Minister Annicken Heutefeldt told Reuters, “It is important that they win. It is important for our common security.”
While Ukraine was destined to be put on hold, another country appears to be making a breakthrough in its path to NATO membership.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan late on Monday agreed to advance Sweden’s bid to join its parliament for ratification, seemingly ending months of protests that have fueled tensions within the bloc .
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 prompted Sweden – and its Nordic neighbor Finland – to abandon decades of military non-alignment and apply to join NATO.
Finland became NATO’s 31st member in April, but Sweden’s entry has been stalled by a dispute with Turkey, where Erdogan accused Sweden of not doing enough to crack down on militants Ankara views as terrorists.
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Christerson and Erdogan agreed to enhance cooperation on fighting terrorism. The United States has also promised to move forward with the transfer of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey, Sullivan said.
Biden said he was “not surprised at all” that Turkey lifted its veto.
Back in Kiev, Ukraine’s military said Russia carried out drone attacks on the southern port of Odessa and the country’s capital early Tuesday.