NATO communique says Ukraine's path to alliance membership is 'irreversible'

NATO communique says Ukraine's path to alliance membership is 'irreversible'

Alliance statement urges China to 'cease all material and political support to Russia’s war effort'

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - A highly-anticipated NATO communique described Ukraine's path to joining the 32-member transatlantic alliance as "irreversible" Wednesday and further urged China to end its assistance for Russia’s war on its eastern European neighbor.

NATO allies have been discussing the provision of assurances they are calling a "bridge" to membership for Ukraine as leaders convene for their ongoing summit, and their declaration says decisions taken during the gathering and the NATO-Ukraine Council, which will convene Thursday, are providing that platform.

It said Kyiv has made "concrete progress" on a series of democratic, political and military reforms it needs to complete for membership and offered the most concrete language to date that Ukraine will eventually join the alliance in defiance of Russian threats against the expansion.

"Ukraine’s future is in NATO," the statement said. "As Ukraine continues this vital work, we will continue to support it on its irreversible path to full Euro-Atlantic integration, including NATO membership."

The communique singles out Russia, saying the Kremlin "remains the most significant and direct threat to Allies’ security." Its now over two-year invasion of Ukraine, the document says, "has shattered peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area and gravely undermined global security."

NATO allies pledged to provide Ukraine with over $43 billion in funding within the next year and vowed to “provide sustainable levels of security assistance for Ukraine to prevail.”

The alliance said Iran and North Korea are "fueling" the Russian war effort by providing Moscow with "direct military support" that includes military drones and munitions.

But it pointed in particular to China, which the alliance said "has become a decisive enabler of Russia’s war against Ukraine through its so-called 'no limits' partnership and its large-scale support for Russia’s defense industrial base."

"We call on the PRC, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council with a particular responsibility to uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, to cease all material and political support to Russia’s war effort," it said, referring to China by its official acronym.

"This includes the transfer of dual-use materials, such as weapons components, equipment, and raw materials that serve as inputs for Russia’s defense sector. The PRC cannot enable the largest war in Europe in recent history without this negatively impacting its interests and reputation," it added.

The next NATO leader-level summit will take place in The Hague, the Netherlands in June 2025, followed by a meeting in Türkiye at an undisclosed time.

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