Contrary to what Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky had hoped, the NATO summit ended without his country becoming a member of the alliance, but Ukraine was the main topic during the summit nonetheless.
What did Ukraine get from the NATO summit? What are the reasons for the frustration and resentment that marked Zelensky's early remarks?
A report published by the American website "Vox" entitled "What Ukraine got and what it did not get at the NATO summit" highlights that Kiev was seeking before the summit a clear timetable for joining the alliance instead of a vague promise from the alliance to obtain membership one day.
Kiev's approach has been supported by some NATO members, including some Eastern European countries, but others, including the United States and Germany, have been wary of making any concrete commitments to annex Ukraine in the midst of an uncertain war, as it could drag NATO into direct conflict with Russia.
This cautious approach ultimately won, as the summit's final statement stated that allies agreed that Ukraine's accession to NATO was possible when the necessary conditions were met, without clarifying or specifying those exact conditions, although Western officials pointed out that they included political and legal reforms, as well as a cessation of war with Russia.
Since NATO members did not agree to include Ukraine in the alliance, what gains did Kiev get from the NATO summit?
Cancellation of membership plan
At the summit, NATO scrapped Ukraine's membership action plan — a series of formal criteria that countries that want to join NATO must follow — in recognition that Ukraine had made progress on military and political goals conditional on joining it.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference on Tuesday that abandoning the action plan would change the course of Ukraine's membership, becoming a one-step process instead of two.
Formation of the "NATO-Ukraine Council"
The second gain that Kiev has taken out of the NATO summit is the formation of the alliance "NATO-Ukraine Council," which gives Kiev a seat at a table that includes all NATO members and partners.
Stoltenberg told a news conference that it was a strong step for Ukraine and a clear path towards its NATO membership.
But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky does not see things as Stoltenberg, speaking sharply at the start of the summit that reflected a high level of frustration, and saying that not setting a timeframe for granting Ukraine NATO membership was "unprecedented and absurd."
"There seems to be no willingness to invite Ukraine to NATO nor to make it a member of the alliance," Zelensky added.
The Fox report highlights that Zelensky was not wrong about admitting that NATO was not willing to invite Ukraine to join it.
The third gain that Ukraine came out of the NATO summit - according to the Fox report - is Kiev obtaining more pledges to give it more weapons, including long-range missiles that France has pledged to supply, an important step for Kiev, as the United States has so far refused to provide it with long-range ATACMS missiles despite the Biden administration agreeing last week to provide Kiev with cluster bombs to be used in its counteroffensive against Russian troops.
The Group of Seven countries (the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan) also pledged long-term security commitments to Ukraine during its meeting on the sidelines of the NATO summit.
Those commitments, which will be subject to further negotiation, are likely to include military and economic aid to Ukraine.