Julianne Smith, the US Ambassador under NATO, believes that the members of the alliance consider it unlikely that Ukraine's invitation to NATO will be approved at the NATO summit in Vilnius next month.
Quote: "I think the allies now are in agreement that a proper invitation [of Ukraine to NATO – ed.] is unlikely while they’re [Ukrainians – ed.] engaged in a full-scale war," Smith believes.
At the same time she insists that NATO assures Ukraine of long-term support and tries to find a way to demonstrate it in Vilnius.
"We want to signal to President Zelenskyy — if he comes in person — we care deeply about having a longer-term relationship with Ukraine and looking for ways to acknowledge, you know, all they’ve accomplished and that our support isn’t going to fade away or that we’re not going to get distracted," she added.
Smith remarked that between the invitation of Ukraine to become a NATO member and the decision of the Bucharest NATO summit "there is an array of options" and added that the latest meeting of the foreign affairs ministers of the NATO member states in Oslo played an important role in the discussion of this issue.
"We are much closer to a landing zone than we were three or four months ago," Smith stated.
Ukraine wants to become a member of NATO shortly after achieving military victory over Russia and aims to receive guarantees of this at the NATO summit in Vilnius.
Earlier, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the President of Ukraine, stated that he understands that it is impossible for Ukraine to ascend to NATO during the war but sees no point in participating in the NATO summit in Vilnius if Ukraine will not receive specific signals about joining the alliance.