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NATO communique says Ukraine's path to alliance membership is 'irreversible'

Alliance statement urges China to 'cease all material and political support to Russia’s war effort'

Michael Hernandez  | 11.07.2024 - Update : 11.07.2024
NATO communique says Ukraine's path to alliance membership is 'irreversible'


A highly-anticipated NATO communique described Ukraine's path to joining the 32-member transatlantic alliance as "irreversible" Wednesday and further urged China to end its assistance for Russia’s war on its eastern European neighbor.

NATO allies have been discussing the provision of assurances they are calling a "bridge" to membership for Ukraine as leaders convene for their ongoing summit, and their declaration says decisions taken during the gathering and the NATO-Ukraine Council, which will convene Thursday, are providing that platform.

It said Kyiv has made "concrete progress" on a series of democratic, political and military reforms it needs to complete for membership and offered the most concrete language to date that Ukraine will eventually join the alliance in defiance of Russian threats against the expansion.

"Ukraine’s future is in NATO," the statement said. "As Ukraine continues this vital work, we will continue to support it on its irreversible path to full Euro-Atlantic integration, including NATO membership."

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg earlier said he "strongly" believes that allies need to ensure Ukraine has "the capabilities to deter future aggression from Russia" after the current round of fighting stops, stressing that the greatest guarantee for Kyiv's security is the alliance's mutual-defense article, known as Article 5. If invoked by an ally, it provides for an attack on one or more allies being treated as an attack on all member states.

It has only been invoked once, by the US in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 al-Qaeda attacks.

The communique singles out Russia, saying the Kremlin "remains the most significant and direct threat to Allies’ security." Its now over two-year invasion of Ukraine, the document says, "has shattered peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area and gravely undermined global security."

Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier Wednesday announced that F-16 fighter jets long-awaited by Kyiv are headed to the war-torn nation to aid efforts seeking to roll back Russia's invasion.

The US-built jets are being supplied by Denmark and the Netherlands. They will be flown by US-trained Ukrainian pilots.

Additional details were not immediately available due to what the leaders of the three nations described as "operational security concerns."

NATO allies pledged in their declaration to provide Ukraine with over $43 billion in funding within the next year and vowed to “provide sustainable levels of security assistance for Ukraine to prevail.”

The alliance said Iran and North Korea are "fueling" the Russian war effort by providing Moscow with "direct military support" that includes military drones and munitions.

But it pointed in particular to China, which the alliance said "has become a decisive enabler of Russia’s war against Ukraine through its so-called 'no limits' partnership and its large-scale support for Russia’s defense industrial base."

"We call on the PRC, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council with a particular responsibility to uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, to cease all material and political support to Russia’s war effort," it said, referring to China by its official acronym.

"This includes the transfer of dual-use materials, such as weapons components, equipment, and raw materials that serve as inputs for Russia’s defense sector. The PRC cannot enable the largest war in Europe in recent history without this negatively impacting its interests and reputation," it added.

The next NATO leader-level summit will take place in The Hague, the Netherlands in June 2025, followed by a meeting in Türkiye at an undisclosed time.

The allies reaffirmed their support for "Allied regional efforts aimed at upholding security, safety, stability and freedom of navigation in the Black Sea region including, as appropriate, through the 1936 Montreux Convention. The treaty governs the transit of ships through the Istanbul Strait and the Canakkale Strait.

"We will continue to counter, deter, defend and respond to threats and challenges posed by terrorists and terrorist organizations based on a combination of prevention, protection and denial measures with determination, resolve and in solidarity," it added.

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