ERR in Vilnius: No NATO accession invite for Ukraine to emerge at summit

Vilnius is hosting the NATO summit of July 11-12, 2023.
Vilnius is hosting the NATO summit of July 11-12, 2023. Source: SCANPIX/ZUMAPRESS

While Ukraine will not be invited to start any NATO accession process at this week's summit in Vilnius, it will get pledges for moves in that direction, and the continuation of military and other support, on a long-term basis, ERR's Epp Ehand reported from the Lithuanian capital Monday.

ERR reports that Vilnius has been abuzz ahead of the arrival of the high-level visitors and anticipated progress on the key issues on the summit gets underway on Tuesday, including on hoped signals for a potential Ukrainian NATO membership bid.

This is made clear by signage, flags, and slogans hung from buildings in central Vilnius (see cover image).

The country's president, Gitanas Nauseda, said: "The time for promises is over. We need to make a concrete plan together on how to move forward," ahead of day one of the summit.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Soltenberg said: "I proposed the package at the official meeting of foreign ministers in Oslo. It consists of three elements. First, a practical support program that would ensure full compatibility between Ukraine and NATO forces. This will bring Ukraine closer to NATO. The second element would be the creation of a NATO-Ukraine Council," NATO said. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Estonia's permanent representative to NATO, former defense minister Jüri Luik, told ERR that: "We are discussing the formation of a policy which should at some point lead Ukraine towards NATO membership; how this policy would exactly be formulated."

"It is in our interests, that is, in the interests of Estonia, that this route be as certain, as unequivocal and as rapid as possible. There are countries out there that are skeptical about this, including some major nations," Luik went on.

POTUS Joe Biden had recently told CNN that Ukraine could not accede to NATO while the current state of war remains, while other issues including the pace of progress in democracy there can provide sticking points.

Promises to Ukraine made at Vilnius are likely to involve a support package for moving towards NATO standards and more long-term military support, ERR reports.

The summit is also expected to confirm the defense plans of the Baltic States, while in a surprise announcement late on Monday, Turkey appeared to back down on its opposition to Sweden joining NATO, progress which some experts had thought unlikely to happen this week.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: 'Aktuaalne kaamera', reporter Epp Ehand.

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