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NATO to give Ukraine ‘something solid’ at summit – NYT

The bloc wants to ensure that its upcoming gathering in Washington is “smoother” than last year’s, the paper reported

NATO intends to offer Ukraine a new military headquarters to manage aid and weapons donated by the West, instead of a pathway to membership, at the bloc’s summit in Washington next month, the New York Times has reported.

According to US and NATO officials cited by the paper on Wednesday, the new HQ would assure Ukraine of NATO’s long-term commitment to its security and serve as a “bridge” for Kiev to eventually join the US-led military bloc in the future.

The administration of US President Joe Biden and the NATO leadership “came up with the idea as a way to give something solid to Kiev at the summit, even as they maintain the time is not right for Ukraine to join,” the NYT reported.

The hope is that the offer will “satisfy” Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky, who sees joining NATO as a top priority, leading to “a smoother summit than the last one, a year ago in Vilnius, Lithuania, where he made his unhappiness clear when Ukraine was not offered a firm timeline for membership negotiations,” the article claimed.

Back then, Zelensky slammed NATO’s decision not to hand an invitation to Ukraine as “unprecedented and absurd,” insisting in a social media post that “uncertainty” on the issue was a sign of the bloc’s “weakness.” The comments left US officials “furious,” according to the Washington Post.

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The unnamed officials who spoke to the NYT, said that the headquarters would be based at a US military facility in Wiesbaden, Germany, and headed by a three-star general – most likely an American one – reporting directly to the head of the US European Command, General Christopher Cavoli.

The mission – called the NATO Security Assistance and Training for Ukraine (NSATU) – is expected to put all aid to Kiev under one umbrella. NATO states have so far been assisting Ukraine on a country-by-country basis. The HQ will also coordinate Western training of Kiev’s troops, the sources said.

As a NATO project, NSATU would remain operational even if Donald Trump, who has expressed skepticism about continuing to support Kiev, wins the US presidential election in November, the officials stressed.

Preventing Ukraine from joining NATO has been cited by Moscow as a key goal of its military operation, launched in February 2022.

READ MORE: EU and Ukraine to sign security deal – Reuters

Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow would be prepared to immediately start peace talks with Kiev if it were to withdraw all of its troops from Russia’s Donbass, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions and formally state that “it no longer plans to join NATO.” Putin’s peace proposal was instantly rejected by both Ukraine and its Western backers.

June 27, 2024 at 05:11PM

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