Netherlands' Prime Minister Says Ukraine's Future In NATO

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 28th June, 2023) Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Tuesday that Ukraine's future lies within NATO, and the Netherlands will continue strengthening Ukraine's air defense capabilities.

"Ukraine's future and rightful place lie within NATO. And we will continue supporting this ambition. The Netherlands is taking responsibility in this regard. We are working hard to enhance Ukraine's air defenses, and we will remain committed to that goal," Rutte told a joint news conference with leaders of seven NATO allies after an informal pre-Summit dinner in The Hague.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo told the news conference that Ukraine will become a NATO member "one day," adding that the alliance needs to support Ukraine in the meantime.

"It is clear that Ukraine one day will be part of NATO. I think that it is crystal clear to everyone here. The question is: what do we do in the meantime? And in the meantime, we need to do two things: first of all, we need to provide a good political framework to make sure that we continue to have this rightful discussion together with our Ukrainian friends. Secondly, we need to provide the necessary security guarantees,"

The meeting was hosted by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, co-hosted by Rutte and attended by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, De Croo, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store, Polish President Andrzej Duda and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.

On Tuesday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in an interview with CNN that Kiev only received an invitation to a NATO-Ukraine Council, which will take place on the sideline of the NATO summit in Vilnius, adding that there was still an unambiguous position in NATO regarding Ukraine's membership.

"All conditions are there to extend the invitation to Ukraine. If NATO fails to deliver ... it means that again, the logic of fear will prevail. And it means that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin again benefit from it. And that's what we're fed up with," Kuleba said, adding that the NATO summit would be a "big test for the West."

Talking about Ukraine's counteroffensive, Kuleba also said that "everyone wants a blockbuster" as "we are a generation of Netflix," but it takes time "to evolve, especially when life of people, of real human beings is at stake." He called "minefields, reinforced defensive lines, and Russia's domination in the air" the three biggest issues with the counteroffensive against Russia.

On June 19, Stoltenberg said the top-level summit in July will be discussing not a formal invitation but rather ways in which "to move Ukraine closer to NATO."

In early June, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Kiev was hoping to receive a clear invitation to join the bloc at the summit in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius. He also said the Ukrainian military was disappointed that Ukraine had not yet received a clear positive response about joining both the European Union and NATO.

Vilnius will host a NATO Summit from July 11 to 12. Stoltenberg will chair the meeting. Discussion about Ukraine's NATO prospects, strengthening the alliance's eastern flank, as well as defense spending are expected to top the agenda of the summit.