NATO debates ways to strengthen ties with Ukraine as war against Russian invasion drags on

BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO defense ministers met Thursday to discuss future relations with Ukraine as Russia’s war on the country thwarts its hopes of soon joining the world’s largest security alliance. world.

Ministers were also due to take part in a separate meeting at NATO headquarters of the US-led Ukraine Contact Group – the forum Ukraine supporters regularly join to try to gather arms and weapons. ammunition to help Kiev fight the Russian invasion.

The NATO meeting comes just under a month before US President Joe Biden and his counterparts will gather for a summit in Lithuania in a symbolic show of support for Ukraine. They are expected to underscore their determination to act if Russian President Vladimir Putin attempts to expand the war west.

NATO agreed in 2008 that Ukraine would join the organization one day, but has not set a date for it to begin membership talks.

As the war continued, Ukraine applied for “accelerated membership” of NATO on September 30. resemble.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said there was no consensus for the country to join while it is at war with Russia.

“We agree that the most urgent task now is to ensure that Ukraine wins as a sovereign and independent nation, because unless Ukraine wins and can continue as a state democracy in Europe, there is no membership issue to discuss,” he said. Of the reunion.

Stoltenberg said he expects the 31-nation alliance “to agree (to) a multi-year program in which we help Ukraine move from old standards, equipment, procedures, doctrines to NATO standards and to become fully interoperable with NATO”.

NATO is also improving its relations with Ukraine. The NATO-Ukraine Commission, which will meet later on Thursday, is expected to be transformed into the NATO-Ukraine Council, giving the country an equal seat at the table with the 31 allies.

NATO has no official presence in Ukraine and as an organization only provides non-lethal support to Kyiv, although allies provide weapons and ammunition individually and as a group.

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