NATO member states have agreed to cancel the first stage of the accession process for Ukraine and not to oblige it to fulfill the action plan for membership preparation, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said during a press conference following the first day of the summit in Vilnius. The broadcast was available on the alliance’s website.
“We reiterated that Ukraine will become a NATO member and agreed to waive the requirements for the alliance’s membership action plan. This will change Ukraine’s path to joining NATO, instead of a two-stage process it will be a one-stage process”, Stoltenberg said.
Also, the NATO secretary-general said that the allies agreed on a multi-year support programme for Ukraine with a budget of 500 million dollars a year to modernize the Ukrainian army and complete transition to the organization’s standards. In addition, the countries decided to set up the NATO-Ukraine Council, the first meeting of which will be held on 12 July.
At the same time, Stoltenberg noted that NATO countries have reached an agreement in principle on Ukraine’s accession to the North Atlantic Alliance after the end of Russia’s war of aggression. This will happen when the allies believe that Kiev has fulfilled the necessary conditions for this.
Ukraine has applied for accelerated accession to NATO in September 2022. The country’s authorities have repeatedly said that at the Vilnius summit they want to receive a “clear signal” that Kyiv will be accepted into the bloc, and not just hear statements about the alliance’s “open doors”. At the same time, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that he understood that it was impossible for the country to join NATO as long as hostilities continued.