Zelensky arrives in Vilnius to attend NATO summit

  • 2023-07-11
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Vilnius on Tuesday aboard a Polish government plane to attend a NATO summit where the leaders of the Alliance are deciding on Kyiv's prospects for membership of the bloc, a BNS photo reporter confirmed.

This is the most debated issue at the summit, as Ukraine has so far urged its partners to commit to the country's post-war membership, while the West has taken the stance that the Alliance should now focus on practical support.

However, NATO members are likely to reach a compromise. White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Tuesday that NATO would set Ukraine on a path of reforms to eventually join the Alliance, but would not give a specific timetable.

Deividas Matulionis, Lithuania's ambassador to NATO, has said that Ukraine will not receive an invitation to join NATO at the Vilnius summit, but “a much clearer procedure will be put in place on how that invitation could come about”.

NATO members also mull removing the Membership Action Plan (MAP) requirement for Ukraine's NATO membership, supporting Ukraine militarily and establishing a NATO-Ukraine Council.

So far, all member states have had to implement the MAP requirement, except Finland and Sweden, which is awaiting ratification by Turkey and Hungary.

The Alliance stated at the 2008 Bucharest Summit that Ukraine would become a NATO member in the future, but did not give a specific timeline.

Kyiv has been seeking more clarity on its membership prospects for some time, but in the wake of Russia's large-scale invasion of Ukraine, Zelensky formally applied to join NATO in September last year.