Viorel Cibotaru: Vilnius summit will be extremely important for Ukraine


The NATO summit in Vilnius will be extremely important for Ukraine, as there could be developments regarding Kiev’s aspiration to join the bloc, thinks Viorel Cibotaru, politician and currently Moldova’s ambassador to Belgium.

The NATO summit in the Lithuanian capital during July 11 and 12 will be an occasion to discuss the Ukraine war, the potential enlargement of the bloc, and security guarantees for Ukraine, among other issues.

“The Vilnius summit will be very important for Ukraine, as it is expected to produce a recipe that reflects Ukraine’s wish to become a de facto, if not de jure NATO member. These aspirations need to be adjusted to the statutes of the alliance and the real situation. One matter to be discussed at this summit for the first time ever is the possibility for the bloc to be upgraded to a global level, with nations in the Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea being invited. I don’t rule out this partnership being actually institutionalized”, Viorel Cibotaru said during a Radio Moldova talk show.

Among those expected to attend is President Zelensky, who will insist on a fast-tracked procedure for Ukraine to join NATO as a solution for ending Russia’s aggression in his country. Marin Gherman, a Romanian-Ukrainian political scientist, told the same talk show that Ukraine’s accession to NATO and the EU is necessary, but only after the country is fully prepared.

“Ukraine seeks a shortcut accession to both the EU and NATO, citing the ongoing war, using it as a legitimate argument for getting ahead of Moldova in this matter. But I’m against any shortcuts in the accession process because this would mean changing the internal structure of the European Union and NATO. Becoming eligible for NATO membership, aside from the modernization of the armed forces – and this is where Ukraine has made a lot of progress indeed – is also about many other aspects, such as the rule of law, anti-corruption reforms, regulation of the law enforcement, and so on. If all these steps are not taken before accession, we might end up with a system that can be easily compromised. I do want this accession to happen as soon as possible, but only after all the homework has been done, so that NATO becomes much stronger following this potential, hypothetical accession, rather than becoming a weaker and more fragile alliance”, argued Marin Gherman.

In 2019, the Ukrainian parliament voted to enshrine the country’s intention to become a NATO and EU member in the national constitution. According to a recent poll by the Ukrainian Rating Group institute, 87% of Ukrainians want their country to join the EU and 86% are for NATO membership as well.