NATO Leaders Say Ukraine On 'Irreversible Path' To Membership, No Timeline For Entry Yet


(MENAFN- Live Mint) When will Ukraine join the US-led military alliance, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)? While admitting Ukraine into NATO remains a contentious matter among NATO members, Finland's President Alexander Stubb said on Wednesday that Ukraine's path towards joining the NATO is irreversible.

According to news agency AFP, NATO leaders said the final declaration – which still had to be formally approved – would support Ukraine on "its irreversible path to full Euro-Atlantic integration, including NATO membership ."

Why add the word 'irreversible'?

Earlier in the day, the Washington Post reported that NATO members, favouring a faster membership track for Ukraine, had sought to include the word“irreversible” to demonstrate that Kyiv has moved closer to alliance entry since last year's summit in Vilnius, Lithuania. Some acknowledged the word was more symbolic than substantive, the report added.

Also Read | NATO Set to Boost Ukraine's Air Defenses and Send F-16s

Finland President Alexander Stubb – which, like Sweden, joined NATO following Russia's invasion of Ukraine - said he was "very happy" with the language. "I think it's very important to give a message to the Kremlin from here that Ukraine's path and bridge toward NATO membership is now irreversible," he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to stop NATO expansion but instead "Ukraine will become a NATO member" and "Finland and Sweden became NATO members as well," Stubb was quoted by news agency AFP as saying.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been pushing for membership in NATO, which considers an attack on one member an attack on all. However, Putin has declared Ukraine's admission into NATO as an encroachment on Russia's security and interests.

F-16 jets sent to Ukraine

NATO allies announced Wednesday they had started the long-promised transfer of F-16 jets to Ukraine as leaders meet for a summit in Washington clouded by political uncertainties in the United States.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told delegates at the NATO 75th anniversary summit that“as we speak, the transfer of F-16 jets is underway, coming form Denmark, coming from the Netherlands.”

Also Read | US scrambles F-16 jets, Capitol Hill on elevated alert Why is there a delay in NATO membership in Ukraine?

The US and Germany led opposition to immediate membership, believing that it would effectively put the whole alliance at war against nuclear-armed Russia, which occupies parts of Ukraine.

As per the NATO summit draft communique ,“NATO will be in position to extend invitation to Ukraine to join alliance when allies agree and conditions are met.”

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg underlined that Ukraine will not join the alliance's ranks immediately.“To invite a new ally, we need consensus. All allies agree that Ukraine will become a member but it's too early to say when that will happen,” he told reporters earlier.

(With inputs from agencies)

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