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Ukraine decries lack of progress in joining NATO, wants to be at summit

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba give a press conference in Brussels, Belgium, April 13, 2021. Francisco Seco/Pool via REUTERS

KYIV, May 26 (Reuters) - Ukraine said on Wednesday there had been no progress in NATO's "open-door" policy to Ukrainian membership and does not understand why it was not invited to the Western military alliance's summit.

NATO meets on June 14 in Brussels in the hope of repairing transatlantic ties under U.S. President Joe Biden amid growing tensions with Russia. read more

"We understand the desire of the allies to hold a closed summit ... but we do not understand how it is possible not to invite Ukraine," Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Wednesday, adding that the summit comes amid escalating tension on the Ukrainian-Russian border.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy this month called on NATO to strengthen its military presence in the Black Sea region and asked the United States to back Kyiv's bid for a NATO membership action plan at the summit.

NATO said in 2008 that Ukraine could potentially become a NATO member in the future.

Kuleba said Kyiv was grateful to NATO for "constant confirmation of the open-door policy", but added that not a single step has been taken to implement it.

"When we in Ukraine are accused of too slow reforms, what can we say about the adoption and implementation of the decisions of the alliance, which have been covered with dust for 13 years?" Kuleba said.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price recently restated U.S. policy of supporting an "open door" to NATO for countries meeting "the standard for membership".

But Ukraine, he said, still must "implement the ... reforms necessary to build a more stable, democratic, prosperous and free country."

Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Nick Macfie

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