Ukraine has not been offered a formal invitation to join the alliance, as there was no consensus among allies for such an endeavour.

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NATO’s reassuring language that Ukraine’s path to membership of the alliance is “irreversible” represents a step forward, says Ukrainian deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishnya.

It’s a ‘very strong message on membership’ – she told Euronews.

Moreover, it’s a ‘clear signal to Russia’ about Ukraine’s future, she said.

Several experts say membership is the ‘only’ guarantee of Ukrainian security in particular because the majority of Ukrainian territory would be covered by Article 5 of the NATO Treaty which ensures an attack on one ally is responded to as if it were an attack on all allies.

“It’s not enough that say that NATO’s future is in NATO, says former US ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder. ‘Russia will not give up its goal of controlling Ukraine unless and until Ukraine is integrated in the Western institutions – NATO and the European Union,” he told Euronews.

“It’s a wasted opportunity not to offer membership to Ukraine,” said Ed Arnold Senior Research Fellow for European Security at Royal United Service Institute, Rusi.

“We don’t have time; anyone can reverse the course of Ukraine’s path because the language at this summit is not legally binding,” he said.

“Trump can reverse it if he comes to power. And we know how Trump dislikes other people’s deals, not to mention the fact that Trump has a bad history with Zelenskyy,” he told Euronews.

As US president, Donald Trump attempted to blackmail Zelenskyy by withholding US military support for Ukraine unless he create a bogus investigation into corruption by Hunter Biden – the son of Joe Biden. The matter led to the impeachment of Trump after whistleblowers revealed the affair.

Ukrainian president Zelenskyy and his team including Deputy Prime Minister Stefanishnya are in Washington DC for the 75th anniversary of NATO.

NATO allies significantly stepped up their contributions to Ukraine as part of this week’s summit including dozens of defence systems and a timeline of the delivery of F-16 fighter jets.

“All of the announcements on air defences and Patriot systems are important but they won’t move the dial for Ukrainian security – not like membership of NATO would,” said Ed Arnold.

Part of the concerns among some countries in hesitating to support Ukrainian membership is the clear liability and risk that would emerge for allies in admitting a country in the middle of an intense armed conflict.  But ambassador Daalder says the only undisputed parts of Ukraine would be covered under Article 5 guarantees. Disputed areas such as Crimea, Donbass and occupied territories in the East of Ukraine would also not be covered. But Kyiv and the rest would be, which would in theory go some way in deterring Russia from attacks such as the one this week on the hospitals, including one children’s hospital.

“NATO’s has in the past provided security guarantees and brought in members who have territorial disputes”, said Ivo Daalder.

“This is not something new. In 1955, West Germany became a member of NATO and quite explicitly was understood that East Germany, which was still a disputed territory, was not part of NATO’s territory.”

Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishnya agrees that Nato membership is the best solution, but ultimately says the only true guarantee of security is if and when Russia ceases its brutal territorial conquest, and stops bombing civilians and civilian targets.

‘’There is much more what we need. And as long as long as people die in Ukraine, we will never feel fully able to prepare ourselves.”

“The moment when zero Russian soldiers are on Ukrainian soil, this will be the moment where we will be able to say that people are safe,” she said.