NATO alliance not expected to invite Ukraine to upcoming summer summit

The U.S. ambassador to NATO, Julianne Smith, said on Tuesday she does not expect the alliance to issue a membership invitation to Ukraine at its summit in Washington this coming July.

“As for the summit this summer, I do not expect the alliance to issue an invitation at this juncture,” Smith said in response to a question on a call with journalists ahead of a NATO defense ministers’ meeting on Thursday.

As it fights Russia’s invasion, Ukraine has made clear its aim is to become a member of the U.S.-led military alliance.

UKRAINE TO RECEIVE NATO SUPPORT FOR ‘AS LONG AS IT TAKES,’ GAIN ALLIANCE MEMBERSHIP AFTER CONFLICT

NATO building

NATO is not expected to extend an invitation to this summer’s summit to Ukraine.  (REUTERS/Yves Herman)

Kyiv and some of its allies inside NATO, particularly in Eastern Europe, have pushed for a membership invitation even as they accept Ukraine could not join NATO while still at war.

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At a summit in Lithuania last year, NATO leaders said Ukraine’s future was in the alliance but stopped short of issuing an invitation or setting out a timeline for membership.

“We’ve worked very hard since the Vilnius summit last year to move out on a number of steps to continue to help our friends in Ukraine with the necessary reforms inside their own country to move closer to Euro-Atlantic integration,” Smith said.

“And we continue to focus first and foremost on supporting them in the current fight and ensuring that they can prevail on the battlefield.”