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NATO allies are close to finalizing a declaration that Ukraine’s path to membership in the alliance is “irreversible,” provided it continues to implement the required reforms. This agreement, expected to be announced at the NATO summit in Washington, underscores the alliance’s commitment to Ukraine despite ongoing challenges.

Last year’s summit in Lithuania saw NATO affirm that Ukraine would become a member once all allies agree and necessary conditions are met. The upcoming summit is likely to further solidify this stance, recognizing Ukraine’s progress and setting a clear path for its future membership, according to a U.S. official.



NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg indicated that allies are negotiating the exact language to articulate Ukraine’s future in NATO. This language will emphasize that Ukraine is on its way to becoming a NATO ally, moving the process forward.

The backdrop to this discussion includes former President Donald Trump’s claims that he could quickly end the war in Ukraine if elected. Trump has suggested that discussions about Ukraine joining NATO provoke Russia, a point that remains contentious among international leaders.

At the summit, NATO plans to announce a comprehensive support package for Ukraine, consisting of five key components:

  1. Training for Ukrainian Forces: Establishing a command center in Germany and logistical hubs in the eastern alliance.
  2. Financial Support: A commitment of $43 billion in military aid over the next year.
  3. Weaponry and Defense Enhancements: Delivery of more weapons, ammunition, and significant increases in air defense capabilities.
  4. Bilateral Security Agreements: Similar to the recent 10-year pact between the U.S. and Ukraine.
  5. Interoperability Programs: Ensuring Ukraine’s armed forces can fully integrate with NATO.

Stoltenberg emphasized that these measures form a “bridge to membership” for Ukraine, alongside the summit declaration affirming Ukraine’s progress towards NATO membership.

The U.S. administration has agreed to include the term “irreversible” in the summit’s communique, contingent upon Ukraine meeting all membership requirements. These include ending the war with Russia and enacting further anti-corruption reforms, which Ukrainian Speaker of Parliament Ruslan Stefanchuk claims are already underway.

NATO’s assumption of security assistance coordination from the U.S. aims to create a more robust and predictable framework for long-term support. This strategic shift comes amidst ongoing assertions from Trump about his capability to swiftly end the conflict, despite providing no detailed plans.

Critics of Trump’s approach, such as Rose Gottemoeller and John Herbst, argue that delaying Ukraine’s NATO membership and negotiating with Russia could encourage further aggression and undermine global security. They stress the importance of defeating Putin to deter other authoritarian leaders, such as China’s Xi Jinping and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

Despite debates over the wording of Ukraine’s membership path, the summit will highlight substantial actions to deepen NATO’s security cooperation with Ukraine. Stoltenberg believes this comprehensive security package marks a significant step forward.

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