President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was enraged by NATO leaders’ statements that Ukraine should one day be approved to join the military alliance but they refrained from issuing a direct invitation to Kyiv.
Tuesday marked the start of a two-day meeting with the leaders of the 31 member countries in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, as Ukrainian military struggle to make substantial progress in a counteroffensive against Russian forces occupying some of their country.
“Ukraine’s future is in NATO,” the leaders said in a declaration, but they offered no timeline for the process.
“We will be in a position to extend an invitation to Ukraine to join the alliance when allies agree and conditions are met,” the declaration said without specifying the conditions.
NATO did drop a requirement for Ukraine to fulfil what is called a membership action plan, effectively removing a hurdle on Kyiv’s way into the alliance.
However, Zelenskyy, who was in Vilnius to address an enthusiastic Lithuanian supporters in a crowded city square before meeting NATO officials, looked to take a hard blow from the inability to go much beyond a 2008 commitment on future membership.
Zelenskyy had blasted NATO leaders in a post on Twitter before his arrival.
“It’s unprecedented and absurd when a timeframe is not set, neither for the invitation nor for Ukraine’s membership,” he wrote.
SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES