The Telegraph: Zelensky was asked not to put pressure on NATO members on Ukraineʼs accession to the Alliance

Sofiia Telishevska

NATO allies have asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky not to pressure member states about Ukraine joining the alliance in 2024 — out of fear that they could be dragged into war.

This was reported by The Telegraph with reference to sources.

Germany and the United States have actively cautioned against offering Kyiv a clear time frame in the run-up to a two-day meeting in Washington to mark the organizationʼs 75th anniversary.

"They are very skeptical about further progress of Ukraine on the path to full membership in NATO this year. The US may not be as concerned as Germany, but there are concerns about Russiaʼs threat to the rest of the Alliance," said a source familiar with the thinking of the Biden administration.

Allies asked Zelensky not to demand the "impossible" from NATO, talking about Ukraineʼs aspirations for membership in 2024.

According to the sources, senior NATO officials carried out "expectation management" after the summit, when it was decided that members supporting Ukraineʼs entry had created too much pressure around the decision.

There is concern that the issue of Ukraineʼs membership was allowed to dominate that yearʼs summit and create divisions among member states. Sources say that a similar incident in Washington will play a role in Donald Trumpʼs questions about the relevance of the Alliance ahead of the US presidential election.

Zelenskyi was asked to avoid putting pressure on individual allies to once again support a clear timetable for Ukraineʼs accession.

NATO leaders will offer what is described as a "bridge" or "pathway" to accession as a show of support for the process.

The support package currently under discussion "will underline Ukraineʼs ability to choose its own future and demonstrate that the path to membership is becoming shorter as it defends itself against Russian aggression," the two diplomats said.

Britain and France pushed for the word "invitation" to be included in the summitʼs final statement to confirm that it was a political hurdle and not a decision to block Ukraineʼs membership.

"Itʼs not an invitation, but itʼs the closest thing," the diplomat said of the latest offer.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also tried to push the 32 alliance members to commit to a $100 billion fund to bring Ukraineʼs military up to "NATO standards" through arms and training. With some member states expressing skepticism about the total, there is now talk of replacing the fund with a pledge by each ally to allocate a percentage of defense spending to Kyiv.