NATO allies are engaged in negotiations regarding Ukraine's membership application, according to the alliance's secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg. As leaders prepare for a summit in Lithuania, Stoltenberg expressed confidence that a clear message would be agreed upon. While consensus exists among allies that Ukraine cannot join NATO while the conflict with Russia continues, many allies are becoming more open to the idea once hostilities cease. However, caution has been expressed by the US and Germany regarding offering Ukraine a concrete path to membership. A senior German official stated that there is no consensus on inviting Ukraine to become a member at this summit. Instead, the focus should be on providing concrete assistance to Ukraine. Stoltenberg proposed a three-part package for Kyiv, including helping Ukrainian forces transition to Western standards, establishing a new council for consultations, and removing the need for a Membership Action Plan (MAP). Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged NATO allies to offer clarity on Ukraine's invitation to become a member, but he welcomed the possibility of dropping the MAP. Stoltenberg believes that allies will reach a consensus on Ukraine's language. The summit also addresses Turkey's refusal to approve Sweden's membership bid. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has linked progress on Sweden's bid to progress on Turkey's efforts to join the EU. Stoltenberg expressed support for Turkey's ambitions to join the EU but emphasized that Sweden has met the conditions for NATO membership. The Turkish leader is scheduled to meet with Stoltenberg and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson to discuss the issue. Despite ongoing negotiations and potential obstacles, Stoltenberg remains optimistic about unity and a strong message on Ukraine at the summit.
NATO has not made a final decision on Ukraine's alliance terms