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Ukraine won’t get NATO invite – Norwegian PM

The bloc will reportedly pledge more money for Kiev and support for EU integration instead

NATO will once again stop short of asking Kiev to become a member, but will acknowledge Ukraine’s desire to eventually do so, according to Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store.

Store spoke to reporters in Washington on Wednesday, as NATO leaders took part in their annual summit in the US capital. He addressed speculation about the contents of the final communique.

“I don’t think there will be any invitation as a result of this year’s summit, but everything else will speak of such a future,” Store said.

A leaked draft of the communique speaks of Ukraine’s “irreversible path” to NATO membership and demands that China stop supporting Russia, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

NATO also intends to give Kiev at least €40 billion ($43.3 billion) over the next year, set up a mechanism to coordinate deliveries of military aid and training of Ukrainian troops, and support Ukraine on its path to “full Euro-Atlantic integration.”

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An invitation to join the bloc will be extended “when allies agree and conditions are met,” according to the draft seen by Reuters. 

The exact same language was used at last year’s summit in Vilnius. Back then, the government in Kiev was furious at the lack of a formal invitation, with Vladimir Zelensky firing off a series of angry social media posts accusing NATO of weakness and cowardice.

Store also confirmed reports that Norway will donate six F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, suggesting they would arrive sometime this year. He had first promised the jets last August, but had not specified the number or a delivery schedule.

Russia has repeatedly warned the US-led bloc that its financial and military support for Ukraine will only prolong the conflict but not change its outcome, while risking a direct confrontation. NATO has insisted that its military, political, and economic support of Kiev does not make it a party to the hostilities.

 

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