11 Jul 2023 13:34

Stoltenberg promises 'strong, positive' message for Ukraine regarding NATO prospects

VILNIUS. July 11 (Interfax) - The NATO summit underway in Vilnius will send a strong, positive and united message regarding Ukraine's membership prospects, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.

"The message will be positive, the message will be strong the message will be united from NATO allies," Stoltenberg said at the beginning of the summit on Tuesday.

He said he was hoping that the allies would agree on Ukraine's convergence with NATO.

"This is both about the path forward for membership but also about the most imminent task, and that is military support, because unless we ensure that Ukraine win this war, unless we ensure that Ukraine prevails as a sovereign and independent nation, there is no membership issue to be discussed," Stoltenberg said.

"At the NATO summit we will agree a package for Ukraine with more practical support, with stringer political ties, and also decisions to move Ukraine closer to NATO membership. The exact language will be available later on today," he said.

Stoltenberg said on Monday that negotiations on the terms of Ukraine's admission to NATO were ongoing. NATO is considering the possibility of skipping the Membership Action Plan for Ukraine, the establishment of the NATO-Ukraine Council, and the endorsement of a long-term program of assistance for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.