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The 74th Nato summit, and this blog, are now coming to a close. Below is a roundup of today’s stories:
Ben Wallace, the British defence secretary said “people want to see a bit of gratitude” and Ukraine needed to put more emphasis on saying thank you for western help when he was asked about President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s complaints on Tuesday that the country had not been issued a firm timetable or set of conditions for joining Nato. Wallace said Ukrainians’ haste to get all the help they could meant they did not always say they were grateful for the help received. “Whether we like it or not, people want to see a bit of gratitude,” the minister said at a briefing in the margins of the Nato summit in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius.
UK prime minister, Rishi Sunak, distanced himself from Wallace’s comments, saying Zelenskiy has expressed gratitude for UK support. Sunak addressed reporters and appeared not to support the defence minister’s characterisation. He highlighted that President Zelenskiy had expressed gratitude on multiple occasions, including his address to parliament earlier this year. “I know he and his people are grateful to the UK,” said Sunak.
Zelenskiy said he “didn’t understand” Wallace’s comments. He also said “we could express our words of gratitude personally to the minister”
The G7 signed a declaration outlining support for Ukraine and help towards governance reforms needed for ‘Euro-Atlantic aspirations. The member nations said they would provide security and economic support, including modern military equipment, across land, air, and sea, intelligence sharing and the training of Ukrainian forces in exchange for Ukraine committing to reforms “to underscore its commitments to democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and media freedoms”, “put its economy on a sustainable path” and strengthen “democratic civilian control of the military”.
Nato unveiled a three-part package to bring Ukraine ‘closer’ to the alliance. Speaking on Wednesday morning, Jens Stoltenberg said the plan will establish “a new Nato-Ukraine council, reaffirming that Ukraine will become a member of Nato and removing the requirement for the membership action plans”
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Sweden’s Nato accession will not be put to Turkish parliament until autumn when it re-opens. Speaking at a news conference after the Nato summit in Vilnius, Erdogan said that Sweden would provide a roadmap for Turkey regarding the steps to take against purported terrorism before the ratification.
An 81-year-old man was killed after shelling in Kherson. His 82-year-old wife was wounded in shelling of the southern city of Kherson, the region’s governor, Oleksandr Prokudin, said on Telegram on Wednesday.
The US national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, has told CNN that Ukraine joining Nato now “would mean war with Russia” during a media round where he expressed support for the alliance’s caution. Speaking to MSNBC, Sullivan said the US president, Joe Biden, will be “straightforward” with the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who are due to meet each other today.
‘It’s not like you push a button’: Erdoğan’s chief foreign policy adviser explains why Sweden’s Nato membership will likely be delayed until autumn
Akif Cagatay Kilic, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s chief foreign policy adviser and former chair of the foreign affairs committee of Turkey’s parliament, recently discussed the issue of Sweden’s accession with Nikkei. He explained why Sweden’s Nato bid is not likely to progress further until after the summer.
Kilic said that the government aimed to expedite the process and send the decision on Sweden’s accession to the Turkish parliament as soon as possible, but poured cold water on the prospect of a swift conclusion on the issue because “there is [still] some work that has to be done”.
Kilic said the decision must be deliberated by the Turkish parliament’s foreign affairs committee and then voted on in the Grand national assembly before Sweden’s new status as a Nato ally is enacted in law, which would not happen before Turkey’s parliament recesses next week. “It’s not like you push a button and the next day everything happens,” he told the financial newspaper.
The foreign policy adviser explained that an extension of the legislative session hinged on the nationalist MHP party, the ruling AKP’s junior coalition partner and was unlikely.
However, Kilic also implied that the delay primarily related to timing rather than any fundamental obstacles between Ankara and Stockholm. He acknowledged that Sweden had fulfilled the requirements outlined in the trilateral agreement, a memorandum between the countries signed at the 2022 Nato summit in Madrid to address Turkey’s security concerns. He also said that Turkey had seen “sincerity” on Sweden’s part, but reiterated that there were still outstanding tasks to be completed.
Erdoğan echoed his adviser at a press conference after the Nato summit, saying that the protocols for Sweden’s accession would be ratified after “parliament is open again” in October, adding that Turkey wanted “it to be done as soon as possible”.
Biden’s closing speech, which emphasised unity as the key to deterring “unchecked aggression”, has ended.
Biden says “the idea that the US could prosper without a secure Europe is not reasonable”.
Biden says “we warned the world what Putin was planning. Even some in Ukraine didn’t believe what our intelligence community had found.”
Biden says Nato is “stronger, more energised and more united than ever” and says Putin was betting “Nato would break apart”.
The US president, Joe Biden, is holding a press conference, which has begun now.
We will be bringing you the most important top lines, watch the conference live at the top of the page.
The US president, Joe Biden, told president Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Wednesday that he looked forward to the day he could welcome Ukraine to Nato, aiming to take the sting out of recent comments that now was not the time for Ukrainian membership in the military alliance, Reuters reports.
“Your resilience and your resolve has been a model for the whole world to see,” Biden told Zelenskiy before a bilateral meeting.
Biden said he understood the Ukrainian leader’s frustration about getting the help he needed quickly enough.
“I promise you the US is doing everything we can to get you what you need,” Biden said in the presence of reporters.
“I look forward to the day when we’re having the meeting celebrating your official, official membership in Nato,” Biden said.
Before he left the US for the Nato trip, Biden told CNN in an interview that he thought the time was not yet right for Ukraine to join the Nato alliance. If Ukraine were to become a member now, Biden said then, “we’re in a war with Russia”.
Biden was asked by a reporter on Wednesday how soon after the war he would like Ukraine to join Nato, and responded with irritation, “an hour and 20 minutes”.
Zelenskiy says if Ukraine wins the war, the country will “definitely have Nato membership … [and] absolute unity that Ukraine will be [an] EU member”.
He added that he believed Ukraine would be taking the “next step” at the next Nato summit, due to be held next July in Washington.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy says he “didn’t understand” the comments made by Ben Wallace, adding “we could get up in the morning and express our words of gratitude personally to the minister”. He said Ukraine was “always grateful to the UK”.
Zelenskiy said: “I believe that we were always grateful to UK. We were always grateful to the prime minister and to the minister of defence because the people in UK have always supported Ukraine. We are grateful for this.
“How else should I express my words of gratitude? Or we could, you know, get up in the morning and express our words of gratitude personally to the minister. Really, I don’t understand the essence of the question. We are grateful to UK.”
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