NATO refuses to give Ukraine timeframe on joining

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, NATO, Tuesday, said Ukraine can join the military alliance “when allies agree and conditions are met” after President Volodymyr Zelensky criticised the “absurd” delay to accession.

According to the BBC, in a communique, NATO said it recognised the need to move faster but would not be drawn on a timeframe.

Earlier Mr. Zelensky said there seemed to be “no readiness” to invite Ukraine to Nato or make it a member.

He is now in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, where the summit is happening.

Kyiv accepts it cannot join Nato while it is at war with Russia but wants to join as soon as possible after fighting ends.

But Mr Zelensky, tweeting before Mr Stoltenberg’s comments, said that the lack of an agreed timeframe meant his country’s eventual membership could become a bargaining chip.

“A window of opportunity is being left to bargain Ukraine’s membership in Nato in negotiations with Russia. Uncertainty is weakness,” he said.

NATO might not have said when and how Ukraine might join the alliance.

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But diplomats emphasised that they had set out a clearer path to membership, and the onerous application process had been shortened significantly.

The alliance had recognised Ukraine’s army was increasingly “interoperable” and more “politically integrated” with NATO forces and it would continue to support reforms to Ukraine’s democracy and security sector.

Diplomats also highlighted the creation of a new NATO-Ukraine Council, meeting on Wednesday for the first time, which will give Kyiv the right to summon meetings of the whole alliance.

But the decision to give no sense of timescale will be seen as a setback for Ukraine.

Even though such detail was always unlikely, Mr Zelensky’s decision to say the absence of a timetable was “absurd” only emphasised his diplomatic failure.

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