West to Offer Ukraine Security Commitments Outside NATO

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NATO summit participants refused to give a clear timeline for Ukraine’s accession to the alliance. NATO allies will offer Ukraine a package of long-term security commitments on Wednesday, after the alliance dashed President Vladimir Zelensky’s hopes of outlining a clear timeline for the country’s accession to the alliance. The Ukrainian leader will hold talks with the leaders of 31 NATO states in Vilnius, a day after he roughly criticized them for not speeding up the process of admitting Ukraine to the alliance. The G7 nations are expected to issue a declaration stating, in what way they intend to help Kyiv defeat Russia and deter a new aggression in the coming years while Ukraine is in NATO’s “waiting room”. Having arrived at the meeting, Zelensky said he wanted to be ‘on the same page’ with NATO about the terms of joining the alliance. “Today we will talk and ‘fight’ for security guarantees for Ukraine on its way to NATO,” he said, before joining the alliance leaders in Vilnius. The G7 announcement will create a framework using which several states will later conclude bilateral agreements with Kyiv specifying the weapons they will supply. The West wants to send a signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin that he cannot continue the war with the expectation that international support for Ukraine will eventually wane. After the first day of the summit, the alliance leaders promised that “Ukraine’s future is in NATO” and shortened the procedure Kyiv would have to go through to become a member of the bloc. “We will be able to extend the invitation when the allies agree and the conditions are met,” the statement says. Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said she understood ‘frustration’ of Ukraine, which was desperate to come under NATO protection. She expressed the hope that written security guarantees would show Ukraine that Western arms would be supplied even if the leaders of key countries supporting Kyiv were not re-elected. In an attempt to convince Zelensky that Kyiv was moving closer to the alliance, NATO organized the first meeting with him in the framework of the NATO-Ukraine Council in Vilnius. This will give the Ukrainian President more opportunities to set the agenda in negotiations with the alliance, but Kyiv is a long way from NATO membership. On the sidelines of the summit, Zelensky will meet with key allies, including US President Joe Biden, to seek more support. Joe Biden is to deliver a keynote speech at Vilnius University today outlining Washington's commitment to defending every inch of NATO territory.