UPDATE - Ukrainian president says NATO summit results 'good' but not 'optimum'

UPDATE - Ukrainian president says NATO summit results 'good' but not 'optimum'

Results would have been 'optimum' if Ukraine had been invited to join NATO, says Zelenskyy


By Beyza Binnur Donmez

VILNIUS, Lithuania (AA) – Ukraine's president on Wednesday said that the NATO summit results are "good" but they would be "optimum" if Kyiv had been invited to join the military alliance.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy's remarks came in a joint news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the NATO-Ukraine Council meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania's capital.

He underlined that the best guarantee for Ukraine is the NATO membership.

Ukraine will always contribute to the security of Europe, Zelenskyy said, adding that he is grateful for the three-part package "to bring Ukraine closer" to the alliance.

He also expressed gratitude for the elimination of the requirement of a membership action plan for Kyiv.

Responding to a question on the security guarantees for Ukraine, which is on the table of the Group of Seven members, he said if the members agree on the guarantees on Wednesday, "that could be the first legal document that shows we are under a security umbrella."

These guarantees would cover "all the aspects Ukraine had but also the ones that we are lacking," like air defense and aircraft, he added.

If the approval comes, those topics could be discussed on a bilateral level, Zelenskyy further said.

On the usage of cluster munitions, Zelenskyy said that they use cluster munitions only against military targets and only against the occupied territory of Ukraine.

"Russia is constantly using cluster munitions on our territory," he added.

Stoltenberg made similar remarks to a cluster munitions question on Tuesday and said: "We need to understand that cluster munition has been used on both sides in this war. The difference is that Russia is using cluster munitions to invade and occupy another country, while Ukraine is using them to defend itself against Russian aggression."

- 'Ukraine closer to NATO than ever before'

Reiterating that allies reaffirmed that Ukraine will become a member of the alliance in the summit, Stoltenberg said: "Ukraine is now closer to NATO than ever before."

"And we will issue an invitation for Ukraine to join NATO when allies agree that conditions are met," he added.

Stoltenberg stressed that NATO must ensure that there are credible arrangements in place for Ukraine's security when Russia's war ends.

"So that history does not repeat itself," he stated.

Regarding the NATO invitation, the Vilnius summit communique released on Tuesday underlined that the alliance "fully supports" Kyiv's right to choose its own security arrangements, adding that "Ukraine's future is in NATO."

However, it added that the alliance will extend an invitation to Ukraine when "allies agree and conditions are met."

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