NATO to offer Ukraine a 'bridge' to membership at Washington summit


NATO plans to present Ukraine with a security package that acts as a "bridge" to membership during its annual summit in Washington this summer, according to Julianne Smith, the U.S. ambassador to NATO. 

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The summit is set for July 9-11, coinciding with NATO's 75th anniversary.

"The package will include specific language addressing Ukraine’s membership aspirations in the summit's declaration," Smith explained. "It will also institutionalize some of the current bilateral support under NATO command and identify new resources to assist Ukraine, sending a clear message to Moscow that NATO remains steadfast."

In preparation for the July summit, 32 countries are finalizing bilateral agreements to bolster Ukraine, with 13 already completed.

Key expectations for Ukraine at the summit

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has specific goals for the summit: securing new air defense systems and establishing concrete steps toward NATO membership.

The previous NATO summit took place in Vilnius, Lithuania, from July 11-12, 2023. It was attended by leaders from the 31 Alliance countries, along with delegations from Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Ukraine, and Sweden. Zelenskyy was also in attendance.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg noted that Ukraine would be invited to join the Alliance once all members agree and "the conditions are met," without the need for a Membership Action Plan (MAP).

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