Joining NATO: the “Bucharest Nine” countries demand guarantees for Ukraine

The nine Eastern European countries of the “Bucharest Nine” (Slovakia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Romania, Latvia) hope that at the next NATO summit, not only words in support of Ukraine’s accession to the North Atlantic Alliance will be heard. This is reported by FREEDOM with reference to “Voice of America”.

The countries of the Eastern flank of NATO expect that the July summit of the Alliance in Vilnius on July 11-12 will define a clearer path for Ukraine to its membership, as soon as the war started by Russia in Ukraine ends. This was stated by the representatives of the nine Eastern European countries of the “Bucharest Nine” at the summit in Bratislava.

“We expect that in Vilnius we will raise our political relations with Ukraine to a new level and launch a new political mechanism that will lead to Ukraine’s membership in NATO as soon as the conditions allow,” the Bucharest Nine said in a joint statement.

The presidents of eastern NATO countries, most of which border Ukraine or Russia, met with Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday in a sign of further support for Ukraine’s rapprochement with NATO.

“We are for strengthening relations with Ukraine in terms of concrete practical assistance, but also for rapprochement with Ukraine. We do not consider this expansion to be NATO’s encroachment on Russia,” Slovak President Zuzana Chaputova said during a teleconference.

According to the Slovak president, NATO members will receive guarantees that Russia will not try to conquer other neighboring countries.

NATO allies are still unable to reach an agreement on the speed of Ukraine’s possible accession to the alliance. Ukraine also admits that until the war is over, the country’s accession to NATO is unlikely.

The countries of NATO’s eastern flank — Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia — known as the “Bucharest Nine,” are among Ukraine’s staunchest allies.

However, some NATO countries fear that a hasty move could bring the alliance closer to a direct confrontation with Russia, and Hungarian President Katalin Novak warned against “unrealistic promises.”

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda told reporters that although nine Eastern European countries unanimously support Ukraine’s membership in NATO, it is “problematic” to get support from other NATO allies.

“In the remaining weeks, we must find a way to take a big step forward and not disappoint the expectations of Ukraine and its supporters. It will not be enough to repeat once again that NATO’s doors are open,” Nauseda noted.

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We will remind, during the summit in Moldova, Volodymyr Zelenskyi said that the peace formula should be built on the basis created by Ukraine.