Zelenskyy calls for ‘security guarantees’ for Ukraine’s path to Nato

Vilnius, Jul 12 (EFE) – President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on Nato leaders to offer Ukraine “security guarantees” as the defense alliance prepared to ratify a long-term security pact Wednesday but failed to provide Kyiv with a timeline on its accession.

As Zelenskyy arrived on the second day of a Nato summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, he told reporters what his three priorities for the day were.

“The first one is new weapons packages for supporting our army on the battlefield, the second the invitation to Nato, we want to be on the same page with everybody,” the Ukrainian leader said.

The third aim was establishing “security guarantees for Ukraine on the way to Nato,” Zelenskyy added.

Zelenskyy is meeting Nato leaders Wednesday after they agreed to make it easier for Ukraine to join the alliance by eliminating the so-called Membership Action Plan — meaning Kyiv will not need to demonstrate that it has carried out the military, economic and political reforms required to join.

But, Zelenskyy on Tuesday slammed the lack of a clear timeline for his country’s accession to the defensive alliance calling the delays “unprecedented and absurd” on Twitter.

“For today, what we hear and understand (is) that we will have this invitation when security measures will allow,” Zelenskyy told reporters as he arrived at the summit Wednesday.

After announcing Tuesday’s joint declaration, Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg outlined some of the necessary conditions Ukraine would have to work on, including the modernization of “defence and security institutions, to strengthen their governance, including fighting corruption.”

Stoltenberg added that these reforms had been at the core of every Nato enlargement in the past “because we want good governance, we want modern defence and security institutions, and we want armed forces which are interoperable with NATO.”

The Nato Secretary-General also said the allies agreed that it was “not the time for making Ukraine a full member of the Alliance.”

Stoltenberg underscored that for the first time the word “invitation” had been included in a Nato statement and said that allies had removed the requirement for the Membership Action Plan.

The Nato chief said that “instead of two steps to become a member, there will now be one step” for Ukraine’s accession to the bloc. EFE mg-gc-jug/ch/sc

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