NATO leaders to gather at key summit amid pivotal agenda

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues with no end in sight, NATO leaders gather for their annual summit this week in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, with crucial issues on the agenda.

The Ukraine conflict has reinvigorated NATO, with member countries providing military hardware to assist in Ukraine's ongoing counteroffensive. However, there is still a lack of concrete action towards Ukraine's desired membership in the alliance.

Meanwhile, in a joint press conference with Ukraine leader Volodymyr Zelensky in Istanbul on July 7, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed his strong support for Ukraine's NATO membership aspirations.

"Ukraine undoubtedly deserves NATO membership," Erdoğan said and emphasized Türkiye's desire to restore peace as soon as possible, offering full support to Ukraine. Zelensky, for his part, expressed gratitude for Türkiye's unwavering support for Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

While some countries, such as the United States and Germany, insist that the focus should be on supplying weapons and ammunition to help Ukraine win the current conflict, rather than taking the more provocative step of extending a formal invitation to join NATO, others, particularly Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, prefer firmer assurances of future NATO membership.

Jake Sullivan, U.S. President Joe Biden's national security adviser, described the summit as "an important moment on the pathway toward membership" for Ukraine, highlighting the need to discuss necessary reforms to meet NATO standards.

In the meantime, the summit is also expected to focus on the issue of Sweden's potential membership in NATO. Türkiye has been the main objector, expressing concerns about Sweden's leniency toward...

Continue reading on: