July 12, 2023

President Zelenskyy and NATO Secretary General: Summit results are ‘very good’ but fall short of being ‘perfect’

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during the NATO Summit in Vilnius.

“We have already come a long way in interoperability with NATO. Our warriors have the freshest experience of cooperation with various Allies. The skillful use of NATO weapons by our troops has proved that global democracy is stronger than any terrorist threats against us. At the same time, even in the time of a full-scale war with Russia, Ukraine continues the reforms, and in the framework of our path of integration into the EU, it is clearly defined what exactly we have to do, and we are doing it,” the Head of State said at the joint press conference with Jens Stoltenberg following the meeting in Vilnius.

In this regard, the President praised the decision of NATO members to cancel the need for a Membership Action Plan (MAP) for Ukraine. At the same time, he believes that the Summit would have been more effective if Ukraine had received an invitation to join the Alliance.

“We can state that the results of the summit are good, but if there had been an invitation, they would have been perfect,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

He also emphasized the need to provide security guarantees for Ukraine that will remain in place until our country becomes a NATO member.

“Today, the G7 can confirm these security guarantees. And if this happens, it will be a really important success for us,” the Head of State emphasized.

The President also stated that in the course of today’s meetings with the leaders of the partner countries, the situation on the battlefield and the steps necessary to ensure peace and security of the citizens of Ukraine are discussed in detail.

“This primarily concerns defense assistance from our partners. And here we want to thank you: we have extremely positive news about new defense support packages from our partners. We have such agreements within the summit. I thank each of the leaders who offered us these packages,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

The Head of State also praised the support of the NATO Secretary General and thanked him for his efforts and attention to Ukraine.

“Security is something that is in obvious deficit right now, and cooperation of all partners here in NATO is something that will definitely fill the security deficit. Ukraine is and will always be a donor to our common security. Security is our key task at the NATO Summit, at all our meetings and in all our communications,” the President emphasized.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted that the Allies believe in Ukraine as a future equal member of NATO, as a guarantor of security and as a winner in this war for freedom and human rights.

He also emphasized that the NATO-Ukraine Council is not just an instrument of participation, but an instrument of integration.

“And it gives us the feeling that we will be part of the Alliance,” the President said, answering journalists’ questions.

“I am confident that Ukraine will join NATO after the war. We will do everything for this,” the Head of State added.

For his part, Jens Stoltenberg emphasized that the Alliance will support Ukraine for as long as it takes. He noted that over the past year, NATO members have provided assistance worth tens of billions of dollars.

“We have now agreed on a three-part package that brings Ukraine closer to NATO. A multi-year practical assistance program. Establishment of a new NATO-Ukraine Council. A new confirmation that Ukraine will become a NATO member and the abolition of the requirement for a Membership Action Plan,” Jens Stoltenberg said.

According to him, the new multi-year assistance program will help Ukraine’s transition from the standards of the Soviet army to those of NATO member states and make the Armed Forces of Ukraine fully interoperable with NATO forces.

Jens Stoltenberg also noted that the inaugural meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council will soon begin, where Allies and Ukraine will meet as equals. This platform will be used for consultations and joint decision-making.

“Ukraine is now closer to NATO than ever before. Allies have reaffirmed that Ukraine will become a member of the Alliance and agreed to waive the MAP requirement. This will change Ukraine’s membership path from a two-step process to a one-step process. We will extend an invitation to Ukraine to join NATO when Allies agree that the conditions have been met,” the Secretary General said.

Jens Stoltenberg also welcomed the decision of NATO members to provide Ukraine with long-term security assistance, which will help deter any possible Russian aggression after the war.

“The decisions taken here in Vilnius mark the beginning of a new chapter in NATO-Ukraine relations. Today, we meet as equals, and I look forward to the day when we meet as allies,” the NATO Secretary General summarized.

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