On July 11–12, a NATO summit was held in Vilnius. Ukraine, and its President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in particular, were frustrated by the text of the communiqué agreed by the NATO countries for Kyiv because it did not provide for any clearer timing or conditions for Ukraine's accession to NATO.
On the second day of the summit, the president articulated the following goals for Ukraine:
- new defense aid packages;
- obtaining an invitation to NATO;
- security guarantees for Ukraine after the war.
In part, Zelensky managed to discuss these issues with the leaders of the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and other countries. And in the end, the President of Ukraine said the results of the NATO summit were "a much-needed and significant success."
What the NATO summit gave Ukraine: key points
The following results of the NATO summit were the most important ones for Ukraine:
- The Ukraine-NATO Council is by far the most promising result of the summit. The rules of the Council clearly state that it is a tool to bring accession closer, and Hungary will no longer be able to block its work;
- The cancellation of the MAP (Membership Action Plan) is one of the controversial results, but it gives Ukraine the opportunity to join immediately after receiving an invitation instead of waiting a few years after receiving the MAP. However, the Ukraine-NATO Council will still establish certain conditions and monitor their implementation. According to experts, it can be either a recognition of Ukraine's right to membership immediately after the war or an extremely convenient method of manipulation and excuses along with the vague wording;
- In Article 11 of the Vilnius Summit Communiqué, the last sentence is important:
"We will be in a position to extend an invitation to Ukraine to join the Alliance when Allies agree and conditions are met."
It was this wording that became a bone of contention because it has brought nothing new for Ukraine to the table since the 2008 Bucharest Summit. Kyiv wasn’t offered any terms or conditions.
- The declaration of support from the G7 leaders: further supply of arms to Kyiv, support for the development of the defense industry, training, cooperation in the areas of intelligence and cyber security, and economic and financial support;
- NATO declared the Russian Federation the most significant potential threat, followed by terrorism and China, and developed a plan of countermeasures in the event of Russian aggression, although experts question its effectiveness without the participation of Ukraine;
- Our pilots will start training on F-16 fighter jets in August 2023 in Romania and Denmark;
- Kyiv will receive SCALP long-range missiles from France with a range of up to 290 km.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy summarized the results of the NATO summit as follows:
"Support from the members and unambiguity in terms of Ukraine’s future membership in NATO."
However, it is clear that Ukraine’s accession to NATO will only be possible after the war ends with our victory.