The G7 leaders meeting at the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania on Wednesday, announced an international framework that paves the way for long-term security guarantees for Ukraine to deter Russia from future aggression.
In a joint statement, which is open for other nations to join, G7 leaders from the US, Germany, Japan, France, Canada, Italy and the UK, as well as the European Union, said that the framework includes elements such as modern advanced military equipment, training, intelligence sharing, and cyber defense.
For its part, Ukraine would pledge improved government policies, including judicial and economic reforms, as well as increased transparency.
US President Joe Biden said the G7 would help Ukraine build a strong military as it waits to join NATO. He added that "Ukraine's future lies in NATO" and the G7 had made a clear statement that its support would last long into the future.
Zelenskyy hails 'significant security victory'
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the multilateral accord, which paves the way for bilateral negotiations with countries, was a "significant security victory" for Ukraine, even as he expressed disappointment over the lack of a clear path for his country to join NATO.
"Today there are security guarantees for Ukraine on the way to NATO," he said. "The Ukraine delegation is bringing home the significant security victory."
Zelenskyy also spoke of "a meaningful, powerful meeting" with Biden on the sidelines of the summit. "We discussed in detail the situation on the frontline, our capabilities, further long-term defense cooperation, and internal Russian processes given the recent events," Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter.
"The United States has stood side by side with Ukraine throughout our defense against aggression. We appreciate it tremendously," he added, thanking "Biden, the Congress and the American people for their vitally important assistance."
Biden pledges unwavering support to Ukraine
US President Joe Biden later gave a speech to a cheering crowd in the courtyard of Vilnius University after the conclusion of the NATO summit to reiterate that the West will not abandon Ukraine in its fight against the Russian invasion.
"When Putin, and his craven lust for land and power, unleashed his brutal war on Ukraine, he was betting NATO would break apart. He thought NATO would break. He thought our unity would shatter at the first testing. He thought democratic leaders would be weak. But he thought wrong," Biden said.
US President also said that NATO is now "stronger, more energized and yes, more united than ever in its history."
Issue of NATO Japan office is 'still on table'
At the conclusion of the summit in Vilnius, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the question of whether the alliance will open an office in Japan was "still on the table."
"It will be considered in the future," he added.
But France has put the plans on hold, stressing that NATO should maintain its focus on the North Atlantic area.
French President Emmanuel Macron said it was important that NATO remain true to its origins of being a North Atlantic-based organization, and that the alliance should not give out the impression of wanting to extend its geographical remit.
"Whichever way you look at it, geography can be stubborn. The Indo-Pacific is not the North Atlantic. Therefore we must not give out the impression that NATO is somehow looking to build up a legitimacy or presence geographically installed in other regions," Macron told a news conference.
dh/ab (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)