By DoD News
By Jim Garamone
“Ukraine’s future lies at NATO,” President Joe Biden said Wednesday in Vilnius, Lithuania.
At the end of the NATO Summit, Biden stressed the long-term commitment nations have made to Ukraine as it fights to counter the Russian invasion.
The NATO allies agreed to eliminate the requirements for the Membership Action Plan for Ukraine and to create a path to NATO membership. Biden said the United States and its allies are “doing everything we can” to support Ukraine. The allies are also making commitments to long-term efforts to provide security to Ukraine.
The United States and other G7 nations (Japan, Canada, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Italy) issued a joint declaration of support for Ukraine, “and make it clear that our support will last long into the future,” the president said. “It starts a process by which each of our nations and any other nation who wishes to participate will negotiate long-term bilateral security commitments with them to Ukraine. We’re going to help Ukraine build a strong capable defense across land, air and sea.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the NATO Summit a “success for Ukraine.” He was pleased with the security guarantees for Ukraine and looks forward to meeting nations pledged to support his country.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also was pleased with the results of the NATO Summit. “Over the past two days, we took major decisions to adapt our alliance for the future,” he said during an end-of-meeting news conference. “We agreed on NATO’s most detailed and robust defense plans since the Cold War. We strengthened our commitment to defense investment. We agreed to bring Ukraine closer to the alliance, and step up support for the long haul.”
NATO also worked to deepen partnerships with nations around the world. Leaders from Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand attended the summit, as did European Union officials.
Stoltenberg chaired the inaugural meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council, and called it “a significant step to move Ukraine closer to NATO.”
Alliance leaders agreed on new NATO-standard equipment for Ukraine and the training needed to operate seamlessly with NATO forces.
All this will lead to Ukraine joining the most successful alliance in history. “We will issue an invitation for Ukraine to join NATO when allies agree that conditions are met,” Stoltenberg said. “This sends a clear, strong and united message from our Vilnius Summit. We must ensure that when this war ends, there are credible arrangements in place for Ukraine’s security, so that history does not repeat itself.”
While North Atlantic is part of the name of the alliance, NATO really faces global challenges, the secretary general said. “What happens in Europe matters to the Indo-Pacific, and what happens in the Indo-Pacific matters to North America and Europe,” he said. “Beijing’s global assertiveness and Moscow’s war against Ukraine require even closer coordination between NATO, the [European Union] and our Indo-Pacific partners.”
NATO will reinforce ties with Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea with tailored partnership programs, he said. This will include joint work on issues like maritime security, new technologies, cyber, climate change and resilience. “We will work even more closely together, standing strong for the rules-based international order,” he said.