Ukraine will become a member of Nato, with all Nato allies agreeing the country will join the alliance, Nato’s secretary general has said, as the country’s armed forces continue to defend their nation against Russian invasion.
Speaking ahead of a meeting between Nato defence ministers, Jens Stoltenburg said: “Ukraine’s future is in [the] Euro Atlantic family and all Nato allies have agreed that Ukraine will become a Nato member.”
Ukraine has long called to join the alliance, long before Russia invaded the country in February 2022.
In February 2021, when asked what his first question to the then-newly inaugurated US President Joe Biden, Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said: “Mr. President, why are we not in Nato yet?”.
And in March 2022, Boris Johnson said there is “no way Ukraine is going to join Nato any time soon” as Ukraine’s leader said peace talks with Russia had taken a “realistic turn”.
But, despite Mr Stoltenburg stating Ukraine’s “rightful place is in the Euro-Atlantic family. Ukraine’s rightful place is in Nato”, he added that the focus, for now, is on “how to ensure that Ukraine prevails”.
“What we do know is that our support helps Ukraine move toward Euro-Atlantic integration and our support helps them to make this possible,” he said.
“But the main focus now is on ensuring that President Putin does not win the war, that Ukraine prevails, because without a sovereign independent Ukraine, there’s no meaning in discussing membership.”
Nato allies have supplied Ukraine with military support ever since Russia invaded the country.
The US has given the most support, sending $33.2bn worth of military aid, with the US recently announcing its 36th drawdown of weapons, including Himars, for Ukraine.
The US is followed by the UK, which has sent £2.3bn, including Challenger 2 tanks, AS90 artillery guns and N-Law anti-tank weapons.
The UK is also leading a multi-nation training programme for Ukrainian personnel, which sees Ukrainian troops trained in the UK before heading to the frontline.
But across the alliance, support has been strong for the Ukrainian forces, with Poland agreeing to send fighter jets to the country and Germany sending Leopard 2 tanks.
Mr Stoltenburg also said he invited Mr Zelensky to Nato’s summit in Vilnius, Lithuania – which the Ukrainian president will attend.
“We discussed the preparations and I highlighted that there are at least two issues that will be important for Ukraine,” Mr Stoltenberg said.
“One is that I expect Nato allies at the summit to recommit to support Ukraine for as long as it takes with substantial military support to ensure that Ukraine prevails as a sovereign, independent nation in Europe.
“And I also expect the Nato allies to agree a multi-year program to help Ukraine transition from Soviet-era equipment standard and doctrines to Nato standard and doctrines and to ensure full interoperability between Ukrainian forces and Nato forces.”
Source: Forces Network