NATO will invite Ukraine to join “when conditions allow” | International

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NATO took an important step on Tuesday by agreeing to extend an "invitation" to Ukraine to join, though only when "conditions" allow. The leaders of the allies have thus tried to demonstrate in the decisive Vilnius summit that kyiv's place is within the Alliance, although not immediately and, above all, not while the war continues. The talk about these vague "conditions" has left the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelensky, deeply dissatisfied, who even before the agreement was made public, charged against a promise that he considered not only vague but also assured that it could benefit Russia by introducing the option that Kiev's membership of the Alliance could be an issue in a hypothetical peace negotiation. "We have affirmed that Ukraine will be a member of NATO," concluded the Secretary General of the Atlantic Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, this Tuesday at a press conference.

In parallel, there is a notable commitment to Ukraine by mentioning the possibility that the allies offer "bilateral security guarantees" to Kiev, which each state must still define with a political agreement, according to allied sources. The United States, France, Germany and the United Kingdom have already shown their willingness to be included in that group of countries, which is likely to be joined by others.

"It is absurd and unprecedented that a deadline is not established for either the invitation or for Ukraine's membership, while vague wording is added about the conditions even to invite Ukraine," Zelensky launched on his social networks. "It seems that there is no provision either to invite Ukraine to NATO or to make it a member of the Alliance," lamented the Ukrainian president. "And for Russia that means continuing its terror," he added. The message reveals disappointment from Zelensky, who asks for more clarity on what those "circumstances" are and wants a timetable for incorporation.

The declarations of the Ukrainian president represent a strong element of pressure for the allied leaders, who have reached the decisive summit in Vilnius, in which the relationship with Kiev is decided, somewhat divided on the degree of commitment regarding that future membership. The countries on the eastern flank are putting pressure on a very favorable consensus for Ukraine. The United States and Germany, on the other hand, are in favor of a more prudent position.

The text agreed by the allies finally includes the word "invitation" -desired by Kiev, and which was not in previous versions of the final declaration and which represents a clear concession from Berlin and Washington-, and also removes Ukraine from the formal MAP process (Member Action Plan, the specific guideline you must meet before joining). It is a gesture that aims to streamline the driveway. In addition, it is contemplated to insert in the joint communiqué the concept of "bilateral security guarantees" that various allies would offer to Ukraine as individual countries, not by the Alliance as a whole. A concept similar to that adopted for Finland and Sweden when they were accepted as candidates and in the course of their formal accession.

Once it has been determined that Ukraine is not yet ready to join the Alliance and that it cannot do so until the end of the war —something that Zelenski seems to have assumed, as he acknowledged during the visit to Kiev by the Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez, when he said: “ We need a very strong and clear signal at the Vilnius summit that Ukraine has the right to become a NATO member after the war – the question now is to give more substance to the prospect of membership that was already opened at the Bucharest summit in 2008 Then it was stated that Ukraine —and Georgia— would be members of the Alliance in the future, but with a lack of definition and without guarantees, which exposed Kiev to the Kremlin's reaction.

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The path of integration is not the only question on the table. On the one hand, new specific support commitments have been announced in Vilnius, such as that of France, whose president, Emmanuel Macron, has assured that he will deliver longer-range missiles to Kiev. French military sources told several press agencies that it is the Scalp model, already supplied to kyiv by the United Kingdom. It has a range of 250 kilometers. Germany, for its part, has announced a new military aid package worth 700 million euros that includes two Patriot air defense system shuttles, 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles, 25 tanks and 20,000 pieces for artillery fire. .

US President Joe Biden is now negotiating with Poland on the issue of security commitments for Ukraine. Warsaw presses to get something more for kyiv, but it will be each country that determines, through political pacts, what these "bilateral security guarantees" consist of, as EL PAÍS announced. A group of countries, led by the US, including France, Germany and the UK, make this offer of "security arrangements" for Ukraine in the form of a commitment that arms will continue to flow in such a way as to deter attacking Ukraine. Ukraine. The compromise, which runs parallel to the Vilnius summit, could be reached at the level of the G-7 countries.

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