President Volodymyr Zelensky paid an unexpected visit to Finland on Wednesday, May 3 to participate in the Nordic-Ukrainian Summit of Leaders and a series of bilateral meetings.
At the end of the summit, leaders of Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden published a joint statement pledging to support Ukraine’s path to membership in the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
The statement emphasizes that the future of Ukraine lies in the Euro-Atlantic family.
“The European Union has already recognized Ukraine’s European perspective and granted Ukraine the status of a candidate country,” the document reads.
“The Nordic EU member states will strongly support Ukraine’s efforts to implement reforms and meet the requirements necessary to start accession negotiations as soon as possible, pending the European Commission's report by the end of 2023.”
The statement says that Ukraine has the right to independently choose means to ensure its own security.
“In September 2022, Ukraine officially applied for NATO membership under an accelerated procedure. The Nordic member states of NATO will continue to support Ukraine on its path to future membership,” the statement emphasized.
The document draws special attention to the fact that since February 2022, the Nordic countries of Europe have provided Ukraine with military support totaling EUR 4.4 billion. In addition to military aid, all Northern European countries provided Ukraine with civilian aid, including financial, humanitarian, and emergency support. The total value of these national Northern European events has exceeded EUR 1.5 billion since February 2022 and will continue to grow.
Ukraine and the countries of Northern Europe agree on the need to increase collective pressure on Russia through further sanctions to weaken the aggressor state’s ability to continue an illegal war of aggression. Efforts to ensure effective implementation of sanctions, prevention, and countering of sanctions circumvention in third countries and by third countries should be intensified.
The leaders of Ukraine and the five Nordic countries – Finnish president Sauli Niinistö, Prime Minister of Sweden Ulf Kristersson, Prime Minister of Norway Jonas Gahr Støre, Prime Minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen, and Prime Minister of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir – confirmed their unequivocal condemnation of Russia’s ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine. They said that Ukraine has demonstrated extraordinary determination in exercising its inalienable right to self-defense against this unprovoked and unjustified attack.
“Russia must immediately, completely, and unconditionally withdraw all its troops from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders,” the statement reads.
On Feb. 28, 2022, President Volodymyr Zelensky signed Ukraine’s application for EU membership, and on June 23 of the same year, the European Council granted Ukraine the status of a candidate for EU membership.
At the same time, the European Commission presented seven recommendations necessary for Ukraine to maintain the status of a candidate country for EU accession and further transition to pre-accession negotiations.
In February 2023, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced that an assessment of Ukraine’s fulfilment of these requirements would be presented in the spring and a large written report in the fall.
In addition, on Sept. 30, 2022, Ukraine submitted an application for accelerated accession to NATO. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that Ukraine expects from the summit of NATO leaders, which will be held on July 11-12 in Vilnius, Lithuania, the fixing of decisions on approaching membership in the Alliance, and not the repetition of statements about open doors.
On April 20, during a visit to Kyiv, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the future of Ukraine is membership in the Alliance, but now it is necessary to provide military support. According to Stoltenberg , Ukraine should win the war with Russia and preserve state independence and sovereignty.
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