WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – Ukraine expects to be invited to join NATO with an “open date” at the military alliance’s summit in Vilnius next month, the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff said.
The official, Andriy Yermak, said the failure of the alliance to deliver a “strong” decision at the July 11-12 summit would demoralise Ukrainians and that Kyiv had demonstrated it was ready to join with its fighting on the battlefield.
“We expect that Ukraine will be invited to NATO with an open date,” Yermak told a webinar held by the Atlantic Council think tank.
“This can create a signal,” he said.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has pressed hard for Ukrainian membership of the military alliance, but also said he recognises it would be impossible to join while Russia’s war in Ukraine is still raging.
Yermak said that consultations were ongoing between the United States and Ukraine on measures that NATO leaders would approve in Vilnius to bolster Ukraine’s security until it receives the alliance’s collective security guarantee.
Kyiv’s allies are divided over how fast Kyiv should join and some Western governments are wary of any move that might take the alliance closer to war with Russia.
Ukrainian forces have gone on the counteroffensive in the southeast in a bid to recapture swathes of occupied land that Russia has heavily fortified.