NATO clears path for Sweden’s membership, Russia fumes : The Tribune India

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NATO clears path for Sweden’s membership, Russia fumes

Zelenskyy disappointed as no time-frame set for Ukraine’s inclusion

NATO clears path for Sweden’s membership, Russia fumes

British PM Rishi Sunak and US President Joe Biden share a light moment at a NATO summit in Vilnius on Tuesday. REUTERS

Vilnius, July 11

US President Joe Biden on Tuesday hailed an agreement for Sweden to join NATO as more work remained to determine a path forward for Ukraine’s future with the alliance. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy criticised as “absurd” the absence of a timetable for his country’s entry. Biden described the summit as a “historic moment” and said the US agreed with a proposal, yet to be released publicly, to outline a path for Ukraine’s eventual membership.

Reacting to the developments, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow was taking appropriate and timely measures in response to the possible accession of Sweden and Ukraine to the NATO military alliance. Without elaborating, he said Russia would protect its own “legitimate security interests”.

Zelenskyy tweeted, “Ukraine also deserves respect. It’s unprecedented and absurd when time-frame is not set neither for the invitation nor for Ukraine’s membership.”

Hours later, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said leaders of the group agreed to to allow Ukraine to join “when allies agree and conditions are met”.

A public flash of anger from the Ukrainian leader, who has been hailed by the West as a hero for his leadership during the Russian invasion, could renew tensions in Vilnius just as they had begun to subside.

On Monday, the night before the summit opened, Turkey withdrew its objections to Sweden joining the alliance.

According to a joint statement issued when the deal was announced, Erdogan will ask Turkey’s parliament to approve Sweden joining NATO. Hungarian PM Viktor Orban, another holdout, is expected to take a similar step. The outcome is a victory for Biden as well, who has touted NATO’s expansion as an example of how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has backfired on Moscow. Finland has already become the 31st member of the alliance, and Sweden is on deck to become the 32nd. — Agencies

Europeans’ mistake

The Europeans don’t understand their mistake. NATO’s expansion is one of the reasons that led to the current situation. — Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesman

Taking apt measures

Russia will protect its own legitimate security interests. Moscow is taking appropriate measures over NATO’s expansion plan. — Sergei Lavrov, Russian foreign minister

#Joe Biden #Russia #Ukraine #United States of America USA #Zelenskyy

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