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NATO won’t give Zelensky what he wants – AFP

Kiev will “have to accept whatever is offered” by the bloc short of full-fledged membership, the agency reports

NATO will clearly signal to Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky that his country will not become a member of the military bloc anytime soon, and that Ukraine will have to take whatever the West offers at this point, AFP reported on Monday, citing sources.

Bloc leaders will reiterate their willingness to continue backing Ukraine at a summit in Washington later this week, the agency said, but “they will not give Zelensky what he wants most: a firm invite for his war-torn country to join their nuclear-armed alliance anytime soon.”

Unnamed Western officials told AFP that they are hoping to avoid a public rift with Ukraine at the event, similar to the one that occurred last year when Zelensky blasted NATO for its “unprecedented and absurd” policy of not setting a timeframe for Ukraine’s accession.

According to several diplomats, “NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg set out what was on offer at a meeting with the Ukrainian leader ahead of time.”

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“The scene is better prepared now,” an unnamed NATO diplomat told the agency. “Zelensky will have to accept whatever is offered.”

The agency also noted, citing Ukrainian officials, that Kiev had made peace with the fact it would not receive an invitation to join NATO at the summit, adding that Ukraine intends to promote the “sense of guilt” among bloc members to accomplish its other goals.

When it comes to specific NATO commitments, Zelensky is reportedly poised to receive a promise of new air-defense system deliveries, with other measures to assist Ukraine to be put on “a firmer footing.”

According to one diplomat, a promise of new air defenses, in the absence of other substantive commitments, could allow Zelensky to declare the summit a victory for Kiev. “What would you want more? Nice words in a declaration that don’t mean much or military support?” the source added.

NATO member states first agreed that Ukraine would eventually join NATO back in 2008 without providing a specific timeline. After the Western-backed coup in Kiev in 2014, Ukraine designated NATO membership as a strategic foreign policy objective. In the autumn of 2022, it submitted an official application to the bloc after four of its former regions voted overwhelmingly to join Russia.

Meanwhile, Moscow has traditionally viewed NATO expansion towards its borders as a threat, with President Vladimir Putin saying Ukraine’s plans to join the bloc were one of the key reasons for the conflict.


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