Ukraine eyes ‘strong and far-reaching step’ towards NATO membership at July summit

By Thomson Reuters Mar 19, 2024 | 10:12 AM

KYIV (Reuters) – Ukraine is working to secure “a strong and far-reaching step” towards membership of NATO at the military alliance’s Washington summit in July, Ukraine’s foreign minister said on Tuesday.

The U.S. ambassador to NATO, Julianne Smith, said last month that she does not expect the alliance to issue a membership invitation to Ukraine at the upcoming summit.

Asked about Ukraine’s goals for the Washington summit during an online news conference, top diplomat Dmytro Kuleba said he would not go into detail about the deliberations, but that there was “very active engagement” with NATO’s leadership and allies.

“We think that Ukraine meets the main criteria of membership, which is the capacity to defend NATO borders. That’s what we are doing by defending Ukraine,” he told reporters.

“…let me say this, we are working hard to make a strong and far-reaching step towards Ukrainian membership in NATO at the Washington summit.”

Russia, which launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, fiercely opposes Kyiv’s long-term strategic ambition of joining the NATO military alliance.

(Reporting by Anastasiia Malenko; editing by Tom Balmforth and Christina Fincher)