Most NATO members stand together with Ukraine and the alliance’s upcoming Lithuania summit must confirm Kyiv is a de facto member, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says.
He also indicated on Monday that further pledges of arms supplies for Ukraine in its war with Russia will be forthcoming at the Vilnius gathering.
Keep readinglist of 4 items
“The majority of the alliance stands firmly with us,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video message.
“When we applied for membership of NATO, we spoke frankly: de facto, Ukraine is already in the alliance. Our weapons are the weapons of the alliance. Our values are what the alliance believes in … Vilnius must confirm all this.”
While questions about the type of weapons and how many to provide Kyiv continue to be debated by NATO members, Ukraine’s leader seems assured that more are on the way.
“I am sure that there could well be positive news regarding weapons for our men from Vilnius,” Zelenskyy said.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said Kyiv will not become a member while war rages and the summit will not issue a formal invitation.
Still, allies are divided over how swiftly Ukraine should be allowed to join after the fighting ends.
While eastern European countries say a road map should be offered to Kyiv, the United States and Germany are wary of any move that might take the alliance closer to war with Russia.
Finland’s Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen told Al Jazeera the alliance was “committed to Ukraine’s membership in NATO in the future”, and to discussing a “future architecture to be put in place once the aggressor leaves the country and ends the war”.
But at present, Valtonen said efforts would focus on further aid and support for Ukraine.
Burning through weapons
The US last week announced it decided to send cluster munitions to Ukraine to help its military push back invading Russian forces entrenched along the front lines.
More than 120 countries have signed the 2008 United Nations Convention on Cluster Munitions to ban their use – including some of Ukraine and the US’s key allies such as France and the United Kingdom.
NATO will also raise targets for the stockpiling of ammunition as Kyiv is burning through shells much faster than Western countries can produce them.
At the same time, allies will show how they aim to implement NATO’s goal, agreed at last year’s Madrid summit, of putting more than 300,000 troops on high alert to counter Russia, up from 40,000 in the past.