Minister: Ukraine requires clear NATO roadmap at Vilnius Summit
In order to make progress in joining NATO, Ukraine needs to be provided with a clear road-map at the forthcoming Vilnius Summit in July, Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsakhna (Eesti 200) says
Minister Tsahkna made his remarks while taking part in a panel discussion at the ongoing Lennart Meri Conference, taking place in Tallinn this weekend.
Tsahkna said: "The issue of Ukraine joining the alliance must not become something that is avoided at all costs in discussions."
"We must make quick progress with Ukraine's NATO candidacy, which was decided upon as far back as 15 years ago in Bucharest, so as to provide hope for Ukraine," he continued, via a foreign ministry press release.
Tsahkna stressed that Russia's full-scale war in Ukraine clearly demonstrated how an aggressor will act when a country is alone and isolated, without the defensive guarantees having allies provides.
This was particularly the case in the region in which Ukraine is located, he added.
"Gray areas in Russia's neighborhood do not work, and this is why Ukraine needs a clear back-up within NATO," Tsahkna said.
All of this made it crucial that at the Vilnius Summit, NATO demonstrate that it would indeed defend every inch of its territory, and equally it is vital to reach agreement with allies on boosted defense spending, the minister went on.
In addition to a clear roadmap for Ukraine, it is key that Sweden accede to the NATO alliance ahead of the Vilnius summit, Tsahkna added.
Sweden applied for membership at the same time as Finland, a year ago, but while Finland is now a full NATO member, Sweden's application has been mired in obstruction from two member states, Hungary and Turkey.
Margus Tsahkna took part in the panel discussion "They Rise or Sink Together: NATO on the Road to Vilnius," before lunchtime Saturday.
In addition to the minister, the panelists were: David Cattler, Xavier Chatel, Eliot A Cohen, Margus Tsahkna, Elina Valtonen and Ana Isabel Xavier.
The full panel discussion can be watched via the video link below.
The Lennart Meri Conference is organized by the International Centre for Defense and Security (ICDS).
The NATO Vilnius Summit takes place in the Lithuanian capital, July 11-12.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte