The general secretary of the NATO, Jens Stoltenbergtold the Ukrainian president on Wednesday, Volodimir Zelenskythat today your country and the Alliance meet “as equals” and who longs for the day when “as allies”.
“Today we meet as equals. I look forward to the day we meet as allies,” Stoltenberg said at a press conference with Zelensky prior to the NATO-Ukraine Councila new forum being held for the first time in the context of the allied summit in Vilnius.
Stoltenberg stressed that NATO will continue to support Ukraine for as long as necessary and assured that it is now “closer to NATO than ever”after the leaders of the Alliance agreed yesterday on a series of measures to bring the country closer to the organization.
“Welcome to NATO”Stoltenberg told Zelensky, before listing the decisions of the allies on Ukraine, such as the new multi-year assistance program to renew its Soviet-era military equipment or the removal of the requirement to comply with an action plan for membership.
The new NATO-Ukraine Council will also allow both parties to be put on an equal footing.
“It is a forum in which Ukraine and the NATO allies will meet as equals, hold crisis consultations and hold joint sessions,” explained Stoltenberg, who made it clear that any of the allies or Ukraine will be able to convene it and that it will be able to meet at the level of leaders, ministers or military commanders.
“The Council is not an instrument of participation, it is an instrument of integration”stressed Zelensky, who today expressed his gratitude to NATO for the support obtained by his country from its Western allies, although he considered that a “formal invitation” to join the Alliance would have been “optimal”.
The allies expressed on the first day of the summit that they will issue an “invitation” for Ukraine to enter NATO when they so agree and “the conditions are met” for it.
“This is a strong united message from allies on their path to NATO membership,” Stoltenberg said.
The Norwegian politician said that with the Russian invasion of Ukraine underway, “There is no risk-free option” for alliesbut stressed that the biggest risk is that Russian President Vladimir Putin will win the war.
He stressed that Ukraine has the right to choose “its own path” and the security arrangements it wants.
He also claimed that R.The US has opposed “all NATO enlargements”but stressed that the decision on Ukraine’s entry into the Alliance rests with its members and kyiv, while Moscow does not have the “right of veto” about.
Stoltenberg noted that it must be ensured that when the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine ends, there are “credible” security agreements in place “so that history does not repeat itself,” referring to a new attack by Moscow against the former Soviet republic.
For this reason, he welcomed the fact that “many allies have committed themselves to providing long-term security assistance to Ukraine” and considered that this will help prevent new aggressions after the war and complement the support provided by NATO to Kiev.
It is expected that G7 leaders sign a statement pledging to support Ukraine in the long term and which in practice will make it possible to start bilateral negotiations for the delivery of military aid to kyiv.
According to diplomatic sources, that help could take the form of weapons delivery, training for the Ukrainian armed forces and even the sharing of intelligence information.
“The decisions made here in Vilnius have marked the beginning of a new chapter in the relationship between NATO and Ukraine,” Stoltenberg concluded.
(With information from EFE)
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