NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced a comprehensive defense plan to confront Russia presented by the alliance’s leaders during their summit in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania today (Tuesday), explaining to reporters that the NATO leaders agreed to invite Ukraine to join the bloc when the conditions are met.
“We confirmed that Ukraine will become a member of NATO, and we agreed to cancel the condition of the Membership Action Plan,” Stoltenberg said, referring to a key step in NATO accession. “The decision will change Ukraine’s membership path from two steps to one.
He pointed out that Kiev could not be invited to join the alliance in light of the continuation of the ongoing war, stressing by saying: “The alliance is open to members, and they are the ones who decide to expand its membership, not Moscow.”
The Secretary-General of NATO pointed out that the allies agreed today on a package of three elements to bring Ukraine closer to NATO. The first element is a multi-year program that will help rebuild the Ukrainian defense and security sector and move from Soviet standards to NATO standards. The second element is the creation of a new Ukraine-NATO council as a forum for consultations and decision-making, where we will be on an equal footing with Kiev.
He pointed out that the first session of the Council will be held tomorrow (Wednesday) with the participation of the Ukrainian President.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky criticized the coalition’s failure to set a timetable for Ukraine’s membership, saying: “It seems that there is no intention to grant Ukraine an invitation to NATO, nor to make it a member of the alliance,” adding: “No timetable for the invitation or for Ukraine’s accession has been set.” To the alliance is unprecedented and absurd ».
On the other hand, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu vowed today to respond in kind to the American cluster munitions that Washington announced providing them to Kiev, stressing that the Russian cluster munitions are more effective than those of the Americans.
“The transfer of American cluster munitions to Kiev will prolong the conflict,” Shoigu said, explaining that his country had refrained from using cluster munitions “aware of the threat these munitions pose to the civilian population.”