Today NATO leaders are meeting in Vilnius for a summit to discuss Ukraine’s NATO membership prospects and defence funding. Some members propose removing the membership action plan requirement for Ukraine and strengthening military support. Ukrainian officials are pushing for a clear path to NATO membership. Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nausėda stressed that only NATO can provide Ukraine with real security guarantees to deter Russian aggression. The possibility of Ukraine’s accession to NATO, however, is tied to the end of the war with Russia, and other qualifications that Ukraine needs to meet.
Sweden’s NATO membership ratification is also discussed, with Hungary indicating it’s now only a technicality after Turkey agreed to support Sweden’s bid. The historic agreement was hailed by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who also emphasized the strategic importance of Swedish and Finnish membership for the security of the Baltic Sea region.
The summit includes discussions about recent events in Russia and the potential regional security threats posed by the Wagner mercenary group. Cybersecurity issues have been highlighted with the summit targeted by several cyber-attacks, including the hacking of a billboard showing misleading footage of US President Joe Biden.
Finally, the summit will consider the implementation of new regional defense plans for the Baltic states and Poland, which necessitate member states to commit to spending at least 2% of their GDP on defense.