NATO officials and leaders from its partner states continue their summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, focusing on Russia’s war in Ukraine and the path forward for aspiring members.
The G7 states signed a declaration outlining long-term security guarantees for Ukraine aimed at deterring future Russian aggression, a day after Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed frustration at NATO for its lack of a timeline giving specific details for his country’s desired NATO membership.
The Kremlin warned in a statement that Western security assurances for Ukraine were a “dangerous mistake” that would threaten Russia’s national security and make Europe less safe.
NATO leaders stated that Ukraine’s future is inside the military alliance, but it failed to give a timetable and said conditions still need to be met, including an end to the war.
Meanwhile, Kyiv and other parts of Ukraine have come under repeated attack, with the capital as well as Odesa and Kherson enduring waves of drone strikes before and during the NATO summit. Ukraine’s military says Russian forces have launched more than 350 strikes on the wider country in the last week.
Kremlin says it will respond ‘using all means and methods at our disposal’ to developments at NATO summit
The Kremlin slammed developments from the NATO leader summit held in Lithuania’s capital saying the alliance has returned to “Cold War schemes.”
“Taking into account the identified challenges and threats to the security and interests of Russia, we will respond in a timely and appropriate manner using all means and methods at our disposal,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry wrote in a statement.
“In addition to the decisions already taken, we will continue to strengthen the military organization and the country’s defense system,” the statement added.
Biden reaffirms commitment to NATO and Ukraine
President Joe Biden reaffirmed US commitment to NATO and Ukraine following a two-day summit of the alliance’s leaders in Lithuania’s capital.
Biden described support for Kyiv’s democracy as “the calling of our lifetime.”
The US has secured a war chest worth more than $41 billion for Kyiv since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion last year.
“We did what we always do. The United States stepped up, NATO stepped up, and our partners in the Indo-Pacific stepped up,” Biden said in an address in Vilnius. “We will not waver,” he said.
Zelensky thanks Biden, continues push to join NATO military alliance
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed off a tweet thanking US President Joe Biden with “UkraineNATO33,” a reference to Kyiv’s ambition to become the 33rd NATO member.
“I want to thank, too, all Americans who understand that it is more than $43 billion for today, it’s a big support. And I understand that this is your money, but they have to know that you spend this money not just on fighting, you spend this money for our lives,” Zelensky said during the bilateral meeting in Vilnius.
“I think that we save lives for Europe, for all the world,” Zelensky added.
Biden thanked Zelensky for acknowledging the commitment of the American people.
“It’s about innocent people around the world and the absolute brutality with which [Russian President Vladmir] Putin is acting and the Russians are moving on,” Biden said.
“Ukraine, the whole world has seen your courage,” the US leader said.
No ships sail under Black Sea grain deal for a fourth day as the landmark agricultural deal faces expiry
No ships have left Ukrainian ports under the Black Sea Grain Initiative in the last four days, according to the UN-backed organization tracking export data.
The deal is set to expire in 5 days. The last ship to sail was over the weekend and carried 27,000 metric tons of corn to Tunisia.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative, which was brokered between Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations, created a humanitarian sea corridor for agricultural goods. Since its inception last July, more than 32 million metric tons of foodstuffs and agricultural products have left three key Ukrainian ports.
Zelensky thanks G7 leaders for security guarantees, says they will aid Ukraine’s children
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed gratitude for the G7’s declaration of security guarantees for his country, standing onstage alongside leaders of those countries and the EU at the NATO summit in Vilnius.
He thanked each leader by name, and said that the guarantees would create new opportunities for Ukraine and help provide more security to Ukraine’s children, thousands of whom have been killed, injured, forcefully deported or made to become refugees since the start of Russia’s invasion.
Stoltenberg – The biggest risk is if Putin wins
The greatest risk of the war in Ukraine is if Russian President Vladimir Putin wins, NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told an audience at a summit of the alliance in Vilnius alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Asked about the threat of potential Russian reprisal over NATO expansion, Stoltenberg replied: “There is war going on in Europe and there is no risk-free option. No risk-free option for NATO allies either.”
“But the biggest risk is if president Putin wins,” he said. “Because then the message is that when he uses military force, when he violates international law, when he invades a neighbor, then he gets what he wants. So that is exactly why it is important for NATO allies to support Ukraine. Because it will be a tragedy for Ukraine if President Putin wins, but it will be dangerous for us. It will make us more vulnerable.”