“The future of Ukraine is in NATO.” At a summit in Vilnius, some 35 km from the border with Belarus, an ally of Moscow, the members of the Atlantic Alliance tried to give pledges to Ukraine on Tuesday July 11, far from the expectations of its president Volodymyr Zelensky who demanded a membership timetable. Franceinfo takes stock of what to remember from this day on the side of the conflict in Ukraine.
Zelensky pleads for Ukraine’s NATO membership
Acclaimed by a crowd waving Ukrainian flags, President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a plea on Tuesday for his country’s accession to NATO, on a stage set up in the center of Vilnius (Lithuania), on the sidelines of a summit of the Covenant. “NATO will give Ukraine security. Ukraine will make NATO stronger”, he proclaimed during a ten-minute speech translated into Lithuanian to loud applause. A Ukrainian flag brought to the Lithuanian capital by a relay of runners from Bakhmout, the scene of a long siege and epicenter of the fighting with the Russian army, was then hoisted on top of a mast.
NATO evokes membership without a timetable
After tough negotiations, NATO members discussed Ukraine’s membership in the Alliance. “We will be able to extend an invitation to Ukraine to join the Alliance when the Allies have decided and the conditions are met”NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said after a meeting that lasted several hours.
A few hours earlier, just before landing in Vilnius, Volodymyr Zelensky had denounced in a particularly virulent tweet the procrastination of the Alliance, almost 18 months after the start of the Russian invasion. “There seems to be no will either to give Ukraine an invitation to NATO or to make it a member of the Alliance”, he had launched. Judging “absurd” that his country did not have a timetable for membership, he felt that this encouraged Moscow to “continue his terror” in Ukraine.
Several countries announce new arms deliveries
Several Allies took advantage of the Vilnius meeting to make new announcements in favor of kyiv. Berlin has thus undertaken to deliver nearly 700 million euros in additional weapons to Ukraine. Germany will in particular deliver launchers for the Patriot anti-aircraft defense system, armored vehicles of the Marder type, Leopard 1 A5 tanks and artillery projectiles.
French President Emmanuel Macron announced the delivery of long-range “SCALP” missiles to Ukraine. This cruise missile, which is jointly developed by the United Kingdom and France, is launched from the air. It has a range of more than 250 kilometers, more than any other weapons supplied to kyiv by Western countries. Paris pointed out that the first SCALPs had already started to be delivered to Ukraine, without further details on the volumes already shipped or to come.
“From our point of view, this is a mistaken decision, with serious consequences for the Ukrainian side, because naturally it will force us to take countermeasures”Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the press.
Ukraine announces a “coalition” for the training of its pilots
Ukraine has announced the formation of a “coalition” from eleven countries for the training of its pilots in the F-16 warplanes, which kyiv is requesting delivery to support its counter-offensive on the front. “A coalition for F-16 training for the Ukrainian Air Force has been formed! Today, 11 partner states and Ukraine signed a memorandum”, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov tweeted. This coalition includes the United Kingdom, Canada and European countries.
Russia says it has made a 1.5 km breakthrough in the East
Russian troops have made a breakthrough in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, the Russian Defense Minister announced on Tuesday. After repelling a Ukrainian offensive, “Russian units launched a counterattack, advancing 1.5 kilometers in depth over two kilometers in front” near Lyman, a city taken over in October 2022 by the Ukrainian army, Sergei Shoigu said on television. Ukrainian troops last week reported Russian assaults around Lyman, an important railroad junction about 50 kilometers northeast of Kramatorsk, the main Ukrainian-held city in the east of the country.
Sergei Shoigu added that Ukrainian forces continued to “try to break through our defenses in different areas”asserting that there had been “waves of attacks” these last two days. But “the enemy has not achieved its objectives in any area” since the beginning of the Ukrainian counter-offensive, at the beginning of June, continued the Minister of Defense.