NATO refuses to extend membership to Ukraine; agrees strong package for Ukraine

The NATO allies have taken decisions to bring Ukraine closer to NATO, and reinforce the Alliance’s collective deterrence and defence. 

However, it refused to extend membership to Ukraine as of now.

A draft agreement states that Ukraine can join NATO when allies agree and conditions are met.” The ambiguous outcome reflects the challenges of reaching consensus among the alliance’s current members.

But, all the allies have agreed to a package of three elements bringing Ukraine closer to NATO.

This includes a new multi-year assistance programme to facilitate the transition of the Ukrainian armed forces from Soviet-era to NATO standards and help rebuild Ukraine’s security and defence sector, covering critical needs like fuel, demining equipment, and medical supplies.

Further, the Allies also agreed to establish the new NATO-Ukraine Council.

Allies also reaffirmed that Ukraine will become a member of NATO, and agreed to remove the requirement for a Membership Action Plan.

This is a strong package for Ukraine, and a clear path towards its membership in NATO.

Allies adopted the most comprehensive defence plans since the end of the Cold War.

Designed to counter the Alliance’s two main threats – Russia and terrorism – the new regional plans provide for 300,000 troops at high readiness, including substantial air and naval combat power.

Allies also approved a new Defence Production Action Plan to accelerate joint procurement, boost production capacity and enhance Allies’ interoperability.

Besides, to meet their defence needs, Allies made an enduring commitment to invest a minimum of 2% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in defence.

European Allies and Canada recorded an 8.3% real terms increase in their defence budgets in 2023, the largest increase in decades.

Notably, eleven (11) Allies meet or exceed the benchmark this year, and this number is expected to grow substantially in 2024.