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15 June, 2024
 
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Ukraine's NATO membership in the cards, Blinken asserts

NATO commits to aid Ukraine, stops short of war involvement

A summit to mark the alliance's birthday doubled as a renewed effort to keep members on board with aid for Ukraine.

At a conference to celebrate NATO's 75th anniversary, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Ukraine will join the alliance – and that the purpose of the summit in Brussels was to work toward that membership.

During the meeting, members of the Alliance praised determination and perseverance of Ukrainians and promised to continue to provide aid for the country. Yet Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reaffirmed that the alliance does not consider itself directly involved in the war.

"We don't have any plans of having any NATO combat troops inside Ukraine," Stoltenberg said. "The Ukrainians are asking for equipment, for ammunition, for weapons, and we are providing that to Ukraine. That doesn't make NATO allies party to the conflict, but we support Ukraine in upholding the right for self-defence."

NATO's top diplomats this week vowed to continue supporting Ukraine as the better-armed Russian troops asserts control on the battlefield.

Plagued by ammunition shortages, Ukraine has lowered the military conscription age from 27 to 25 in an effort to replenish its army's depleted ranks, and is appealing for additional air defences to counter Russian ballistic missile attacks.

“I didn't want to spoil the birthday party for NATO, but I felt compelled to deliver a sobering message on behalf of Ukrainians about the state of Russian air attacks on my country, destroying our energy system, our economy, killing civilians," said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who attended a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council.

Antony Blinken, speaking before meeting with Kuleba, said that “support for Ukraine, the determination of every country represented here at NATO, remains rock solid.”

“We will do everything we can, allies will do everything that they can, to ensure that Ukraine has what it needs to continue to deal with Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine, aggression that is getting worse with every passing day,” he said.

Early on Friday, new explosions rocked Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, which has been targeted several times this week, including Thursday night.

[Source: Euronews]

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