NATO member states apparently agree that, in principle, Ukraine is part of the community of nations. NATO Secretary general Jens Stoltenberg made the statement in Ramstein, Germany on Friday, but there is still no timetable on when or if Ukraine will officially become part of the organization, per DW.
Stoltenberg suggested that the primary goal right now is that “Ukraine prevails” against Russia, who has successfully secured control of several areas in southern Ukraine. It was recently announced that Germany, the US, and the Netherlands had equipped Ukraine with the Patriot air defense system, now allowing the ability to shoot down planes and ballistic missiles. However, the defense system is not very effective in shooting down drones.
The prospect of Ukraine joining NATO will be difficult, as one of the major prerequisites for joining the organization is that the country in question cannot be at war. And there are those within NATO that do not believe Ukraine will immediately join the group, with German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius suggesting that the possibility of fast-tracking Ukraine’s accession to the group would likely not happen, so long as they are in military conflict with Russia.
Additionally, Stoltenberg said that Zelensky had accepted his invitation to NATO’s meeting in Vilnius in July while he visited Kyiv earlier this week, according to The Kyiv Independent.
DW reported that representatives from NATO and other areas are expected to meet at the US Ramstein Air Base in western Germany on Friday to discuss what has been called the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. It has also been noted that Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov will be in attendance.
Reznikov posted the following on Twitter on Friday: “Ukraine has reached unprecedented levels of interoperability with NATO. We are, de facto, already a part of the Alliance's security space. I expressed my hope that this would expedite political decisions regarding our country's NATO integration.”
Lloyd Austin, US Defense Secretary, has noted that the Contact Group has provided more than $55 billion in Ukrainian assistance during the military conflict, with more than $35 billion of that coming from the US.
He said that “our support for the forces of freedom in Ukraine holds strong and true,” adding that the Contact Group is expected to discuss three issues, including “defense, ammunition, and enablers,” according to the report.