The much expected NATO summit is currently underway in Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania. One the major issues discussed about, is Ukraine’s fast facilitation into NATO’s umbrella.
Though, almost all the NATO members agreed that, the rightful place for Kyiv is NATO, but they’ve maintained their stance that, they fall short of handling Kyiv invitation or the time table for its admission. However, the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy has described NATO’s stance as “absurd.”
On the other hand, NATO has relinquished any necessary requirements that Kyiv needs to reach before joining the alliance, known as Membership Action Plan (MAP). This action by NATO, has cleared the way for Ukraine to join the alliance, without meeting any conditions.
“Ukraine’s future is in NATO. We will be in a position to extend an invitation to Ukraine to join the alliance when allies agree and conditions are met.”NATO’s Declaration.
Though, the declaration did not state the requirements Ukraine must achieve, but they said that the alliance will aid Kiev in advancing military cooperation as well as further democratic and security sector reforms.
Zelenskyy earlier on criticized the alliance for failing to offer a scheduled timeline for its accession into NATO. “It’s unprecedented and absurd when a timeframe is not set, neither for the invitation nor for Ukraine’s membership,” Zelenskiy said prior to his arrival as a special guest to the occasion.
Zelenskyy criticism followed after the Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated at the commencement of summit, that, NATO will convey a “positive message” to Ukraine. Stoltenberg’s message explains the division among the 31-member bloc over the indecisiveness of the alliance to give a specific date for Kyiv’s admission.
Ukraine has been knocking the doors of the alliance since 2008, and even reaffirmed their interest in 2022, after Russia began its incursion. The declaration said: “We reaffirm our unwavering solidarity with the government and people of Ukraine in the heroic defense of their nation, their land, and our shared values.”
“The Russian Federation is the most significant and direct threat to Allies’ security and to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area,” the declaration sent a strong message to the Kremlin.
“There has never been a stronger message from NATO at any time, both when it comes to the political message of the path forward for membership and the concrete support from NATO allies,” Stoltenberg averred in response to Zelenskyy’s criticism towards the alliance.
In the midst of war with Russia, some NATO members agree that, Ukraine joining the alliance is impossible, but they conflict on the circumstances and the speed at which Ukraine’s membership might occur. However, NATO’s eastern front have taken a strong stance that, facilitating Kyiv’s membership into the alliance would deter Moscow of carrying any additional assault.
Some nations, including the United States and Germany, have been more circumspect, hesitant of any action that they believe could propel NATO into a direct clash with Russia. In order to thwart Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attempts to splinter NATO, U.S. President Joe Biden has emphasized the need of maintaining its unity.
Kremlin Monitoring Events In Vilnius
The spokesman for the Kremlin Dmitry Peskov, has stated that, Moscow is keenly monitoring events that are unfolding at the summit in Vilnius, and would critically examine them to “take measures aimed at ensuring our security.”
Also Peskov stated that, the Kremlin would be considering the necessary counter measures, as to do with Ankara consenting to Stockholm’s membership bid, and the serious implications that Sweden’s admission into the alliance will come with.
But Peskov said Moscow would continue to cooperate when it sees fit with Turkey, which has cast itself as an intermediary between Russia and Ukraine. He says that while Russia and Turkey have disagreements, they also share common interests.