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    NATO Deepens Ties with Ukraine But Doesn’t Set Clear Path for Membership

    NATO Deepens Ties with Ukraine But Doesn't Set Clear Path for Membership

    VILNIUS, — NATO leaders gathered Wednesday to launch a highly symbolic new forum for ties with , after committing to provide the country with more military assistance for fighting Russia but only vague assurances of future membership.

    U.S. President Joe Biden and his NATO counterparts sat down with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the new NATO-Ukraine Council, a permanent body where the 31 allies and Ukraine can hold consultations and call for meetings in emergency situations.

    The setting is part of NATO's effort to bring Ukraine as close as possible to the military alliance without actually joining it. On Tuesday, the leaders said in their communique summarizing the summit's conclusions that Ukraine can join “when allies agree and conditions are met.”

    “Today we meet as equals,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday at a news conference with Zelenskyy. “I look forward to the day we meet as allies.”

    The ambiguous plan for Ukraine's future membership reflects the challenges of reaching consensus among the alliance's current members while the war continues, and has frustrated Zelenskyy even as he expressed appreciation for military hardware being promised by Group of Seven industrial .

    “The results of the summit are good, but if there were an invitation, that would be ideal,” Zelenskyy said, through a translator.

    Despite his disappointment, the…

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