NATO allies on Tuesday reaffirmed their support for Ukraine’s push for membership of the alliance, according to a final declaration issued by the 31-member group at a summit in Lithuania.
“Ukraine’s future is in NATO,” it said.
"We will be in a position to extend an invitation to Ukraine to join the Alliance when Allies agree and conditions are met," the communiqué added.
NATO allies also reiterated their condemnation of Russia's war and its "blatant violations of international law, the Charter of the United Nations, and OSCE commitments and principles.”
Support for Kyiv was clear around the Lithuanian capital. Messages were even displayed on the windows of shuttle buses carrying people to and from the summit venue.
“While you are waiting for this bus, Ukraine is waiting to become a NATO member,” read a message written on the window of one of the buses.
Here are the latest developments from the summit:
- Zelensky addressed a crowd in Vilnius: Speaking before thousands on a stage decked out with the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag – beneath a huge sign reading “#UkraineNATO33” – President Volodymyr Zelensky said he was attending the summit to seek “total assurance” from NATO members of the decision that Ukraine “deserves,” referring to membership of the alliance. “NATO will give Ukraine security. Ukraine will make NATO stronger,” he said. After the speech, a Ukrainian flag sent from the frontlines of the war was raised in the Lithuanian capital.
- NATO to remove one step to Ukraine's accession, alliance chief says: Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance has changed the requirements needed for Ukraine to join the group. Stoltenberg said allied countries “agreed to remove the requirements for membership action,” which will change Ukraine’s membership path from a “two-step process to a one-step process.”
- Swedish PM hails agreement with Turkey: Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said Tuesday he was "very happy" with Turkey's green light to Sweden's NATO membership. On Monday, NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg said Turkey agreed to back Sweden’s bid to join the military alliance. Previously, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had suggested Sweden could only join after his country was accepted into the European Union.
- NATO allies call for Iran to stop supplying drones to Russia and push against China's partnership with Moscow: The Western allies expressed “serious concern” over Iran’s “malicious activities” and urged Tehran to stop supplying drones to Russia for use in the war in Ukraine. In its communiqué, NATO said “Iran’s support to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine” is impacting Euro-Atlantic security. NATO also called on China to abstain from supporting the Russian war effort.
- Blinken says allies understand why US is providing cluster munitions: Allies know why the United States is providing controversial cluster munitions to Ukraine, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday. “Every ally I've talked to has said they understand why we're doing this, when we're doing it,” Blinken said in an interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell. Some key US allies, including the UK, France and Germany, are signatories to a ban on cluster munitions.
- US and Turkish leaders hold talks: US President Joe Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met Tuesday and "discussed efforts to strengthen bilateral cooperation," the White House said in a readout of the meeting. Biden is expected to meet Zelensky in Vilnius on Wednesday.