• June 16, 2024

Ukraine’s NATO Membership Hurdle Lifted as Leaders Gather for Summit in Lithuania, Advances Claimed near Bakhmut

Lithuania: In a significant development at the NATO summit in Vilnius, a key hurdle to Ukraine’s membership in the alliance has been lifted. Leaders from NATO gathered today as Ukraine claimed advances near Bakhmut, while a Western official confirmed that the alliance is prepared to drop the Membership Action Plan (MAP) required for Ukraine’s application.

The decision to remove the MAP requirement marks a crucial step in Ukraine’s path to NATO membership. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba took to Twitter to announce the consensus reached among NATO allies, stating, “NATO allies have reached consensus on removing MAP from Ukraine’s path to membership.”

Ukraine's NATO Membership Hurdle Lifted
Ukraine’s NATO Membership Hurdle Lifted

Simultaneously, Ukrainian troops reported capturing key heights around the city of Bakhmut. Deputy Defense Minister Ganna Malyar declared that they had gained fire control over enemy movements, entrances, and exits around the city. The Ukrainian military had earlier announced the recapture of 14 square kilometers from Russian forces in the past week, amidst heavy fighting near Bakhmut.

However, tensions persist as Russian shelling targeted a humanitarian aid hub in the Zaporizhzhia region, resulting in the tragic loss of four lives. The attack on the aid hub, condemned as a war crime by regional governor Yuriy Malashko, underscores the ongoing volatility in the region.

Ahead of the NATO summit, US President Joe Biden held discussions with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London, addressing concerns over the controversial decision to supply cluster bombs to Kyiv. The move has raised eyebrows, as more than 120 countries, including Britain, have signed agreements prohibiting the production, storage, sale, and use of cluster bombs due to their long-lasting threat to civilian populations.

China has criticized the cluster bomb deal, denouncing it as “irresponsible” and warning of potential humanitarian problems. The issue of Sweden’s membership bid and Turkey’s opposition also looms over the NATO summit. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has linked Sweden’s candidacy to the reopening of long-stalled membership talks between Turkey and the European Union, adding a new layer of complexity to the diplomatic negotiations.

As the NATO summit progresses, leaders grapple with geopolitical challenges and delicate negotiations, striving to address the aspirations of Ukraine for NATO membership, while also managing concerns and disputes among member nations.

We will continue to closely follow the developments at the NATO summit and the situation in Ukraine as events unfold. Stay tuned for further updates on this evolving story.