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Slovakia says Ukraine needs clear view on NATO bid as Zelenskiy visits

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(Reuters) -Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visited Slovakia on Friday and met his Slovak counterpart Zuzana Caputova, who urged NATO allies to give Ukraine a clearer view on its bid to become a part of the military alliance.

Zelenskiy was on the third stop of a tour of several NATO states to drum up support for Kyiv’s bid to join the military alliance ahead of a summit on July 11-12, with Ukraine in the throes of a 16-month-old Russian invasion.

“What I hope and believe we will give Ukraine (at the NATO summit) is a vision of future membership, of course if the conditions are met, including the most important one, which is an end to the war, to the military aggression in Ukraine,” Caputova said in a televised press conference alongside Zelenskiy.

Caputova said Ukraine joining the alliance was a question of when, not if, and that Ukraine was also a prospective member of the European Union.

Zelenskiy has acknowledged that Kyiv is unlikely to be able to join NATO while at war with Russia, but has been pushing for a clearer game plan for membership from the Western alliance.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday the alliance’s leaders will reaffirm that Ukraine will become a member and also unite on how to bring Kyiv closer to this goal when they meet in Vilnius on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The alliance has been divided on how quickly it should move.

(Reporting by Jason Hovet and Robert Muller in Prague; editing by John Stonestreet, Alex Richardson and Mark Heinrich)

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