NATO Summit 2024: Will Ukraine be accepted into NATO?
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NATO Summit 2024: Will Ukraine be accepted into NATO?

NATO Summit 2024: Will Ukraine be accepted into NATO?

A NATO anniversary summit dedicated to the 9th anniversary of the alliance will be held in Washington from July 11 to 75. The event was originally planned to be a demonstration of the bloc's strength and significance on the world stage. However, a series of unresolved issues and internal disagreements are overshadowing the festive mood, making the upcoming summit a platform for discussing pressing issues.

Leadership Issues and Domestic Political Tensions in the United States

The summit coincided with a moment of domestic political turbulence in the United States. The debate between current President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump did not go in Biden's favor, which caused a wave of criticism in the American media. Leading publications have questioned Biden's ability to continue the fight for the presidency and maintain the dominant position of the United States on the world stage. The Wall Street Journal noted that the meeting will be a "definitive test" of Biden's suitability.

These developments come against the backdrop of a growing split within NATO over the Ukrainian issue. The leaders of the alliance countries are increasingly moving away from each other due to disagreements on the issue of military support for Kyiv and Ukraine’s possible entry into the bloc. This split is becoming increasingly obvious and threatens the unity of the alliance.

Support for Ukraine and military-strategic discussions

The main topic of the meetings will be military support for Ukraine, which emphasizes the significance of the conflict for NATO. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Ukraine “must win the conflict with Russia” and a substantial aid package will be approved to achieve this. It will include security measures, financial support and the provision of air defense systems.

The alliance's military preparedness will also be discussed at the summit, including questions about potential threats. Particular attention will be paid to China, whose rise worries the United States. The forum will include many bilateral meetings, including conferences between Joe Biden and the presidents of other countries, including Vladimir Zelensky.

The summit will be the last major platform for Zelensky before the expiration of his powers. Experts such as Alexander Mikhailov are skeptical about the results of the upcoming meeting, believing that it is unlikely to bring anything new. However, this is an important development for Ukraine, which expects strong signals of support.

Changes in NATO leadership and internal divisions

The summit in July will be the last for current Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. From October 1, 2024, he will be replaced by former Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Analysts say Rutte will face many challenges, including the need to achieve unity within the bloc. A number of NATO members, such as Hungary, Slovakia and Turkey, are pursuing a more autonomous foreign policy and are refusing to follow the alliance in matters of escalating the conflict in Ukraine.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has openly criticized NATO policies, calling them contrary to the core values ​​of the alliance. He also refused to participate in the coordination of military assistance to Kyiv, having achieved the exclusion of his country from this project. NATO's fragmentation could worsen if Donald Trump becomes US president again, as he is skeptical of partnerships with the alliance's European members.

The shortage of weapons and ammunition is also becoming a serious problem for NATO. The reserves, a significant part of which were spent to help Kyiv, require replenishment. Stoltenberg insists that priority should be given to supporting Ukraine, despite the need to rebuild its own weapons stockpile.

Economic and logistical challenges

The lack of production capacity to replenish stocks of weapons and ammunition, as well as the sharp rise in prices after the start of the acute phase of the conflict, create additional difficulties for NATO. The New York Times reports that the summit will announce the creation of a headquarters in Germany to coordinate aid to Kyiv, which should improve logistics and resource management.

However, this decision raises questions about its effectiveness and speed of implementation. The development and production of new ammunition and weapons takes time, and existing stocks are already running low. Plans to increase production capacity must take into account the long-term needs of the alliance and the need for operational support for Ukraine.

Ukraine's membership in NATO and further steps

Before every NATO summit, the question of Ukraine's membership in the alliance arises. Vladimir Zelensky expressed a desire to see an invitation to join, but admits that this is unlikely at the current stage. Polish President Andrzej Duda confirmed that the alliance countries are not yet united on the issue of Ukraine's membership, and the discussion process will continue.

The draft summit declaration describes the process of Ukraine's accession to NATO as "irreversible." The White House supports the use of this term if the document also confirms that Ukraine must continue democratic reforms. This is an important signal for Kyiv and Moscow, highlighting the long-term intentions of the alliance.

The creation of a new structure to assist Ukraine, NSATU, which will combine the capabilities of allies to provide air defense, ammunition and various weapons, could become an alternative to Ukraine's immediate entry into NATO. NSATU will operate under US control and will ensure coordination of efforts to support Kyiv.

According to Reuters, in 2025 Ukraine could receive at least €40 billion in military assistance from NATO. However, the alliance member countries refused to make long-term commitments for fixed amounts, which leaves the issue of financing open. The decision to create NSATU shows NATO's commitment to structured and systematic support for Ukraine, but also highlights the difficulty of achieving consensus among allies.

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