The NATO summit held on Tuesday in Lithuania did not meet the hopeful expectations of Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky as his request to join was not immediately granted. According to Axios, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg vowed to admit Ukraine as a member after it meets all prerequisite conditions. Without a concrete timetable, however, Zelensky was left frustrated with NATO allies.
Stoltenberg assured Zelensky that Ukraine will have a place in NATO once “allies agree and conditions are met.” Speeding up the process for Ukraine to receive a formal invitation into the alliance, the Vilnius Summit Comminiqué confirmed on Tuesday that Ukraine will not be required to complete a Membership Action Plan (MAP), which can take countries years or decades to complete.
Zelensky has been desperate for Ukraine to become a part of NATO since Russia’s invasion in February 2022. In the communique, NATO recognizes the threat Russia poses to security stating, “Peace in the Euro-Atlantic area has been shattered. The Russian Federation has violated the norms and principles that contributed to a stable and predictable European security order. The Russian Federation is the most significant and direct threat to Allies’ security and to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area.”
NATO continued, “Russia bears full responsibility for its illegal, unjustifiable, and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine, which has gravely undermined Euro-Atlantic and global security and for which it must be held fully accountable. We continue to condemn in the strongest terms Russia’s blatant violations of international law…”
In response to the threat posed by Russia to Ukraine, NATO agreed to a multi-year assistance program for Ukraine and established a NATO-Ukraine council to aid in decision-making. Zelensky will meet with NATO on Wednesday for the inaugural meeting of the joint council.
On Twitter, Zelensky shared that he has “faith in a strong NATO” but “would like this faith to become confidence.” Zelensky asserted that “NATO will give Ukraine security. Ukraine will make the Alliance stronger,” and suggested that action be taken swiftly so that NATO does not “waste time and does not look back at any aggressor.”