Ukraine, US start talks on security guarantees, official says

WASHINGTON (Reuters): Kyiv and Washington started talks on Thursday aimed at providing security guarantees for Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff said, a follow-up to pledges by G7 countries at last month’s NATO summit.

Ukraine was told that the Group of Seven (G7) would draw up and honor security guarantees and help bolster its military in light of Russia’s 17-month-old invasion of Ukraine.

The Kyiv government sees the talks as an interim stage pending its accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization military alliance. At the summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, NATO leaders offered support to Ukraine but ruled out any notion of membership until the war with Russia is resolved.

Presidential chief of staff Andriy Yermak, writing on the Telegram messaging app, said the agreement reached in Vilnius was “the basis for working out corresponding bilateral agreements.”

“It is symbolic that the United States — our biggest strategic partner — became the first country with which Ukraine has started this process,” Yermak wrote. “Through this process we will create a successful model for other partners.”

Members of the G7 agreed for each nation to negotiate agreements.

Yermak restated Ukraine’s position that guarantees “will strengthen Ukraine along the path to future membership of the Euro-Atlantic community, including NATO and the European Union.”

Yermak did not say where the talks were taking place or who was taking part, but a photo accompanying his post showed him sitting at a table at what appeared to be the Ukrainian president’s office in the capital Kyiv.