(Bloomberg) -- French President Emmanuel Macron gave his strongest support yet for Ukraine’s bid to join NATO — but he tempered his backing by saying full membership isn’t possible at the moment.

On Wednesday, Macron advocated for “a path toward membership” in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization for Ukraine, his boldest call yet on Kyiv’s accession bid and a move that took many by surprise. But on Thursday he gave a more nuanced view. 

He said that Europe needed to provide Ukraine with immediate security guarantees, short of what “goes with full-fledged membership to NATO, which isn’t accessible today.”

NATO members are deliberating how to bring Ukraine closer into its sphere without immediately making it a member, which, because of the alliance’s mutual-defense clause, would draw western allies into the war. Leaders from the military alliance will meet in Vilnius in July to further discuss the matter.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has demanded long-term security guarantees as long as Ukraine remained outside of NATO.  

“We have the willingness to build security guarantees that are clear and stronger than what we are doing today,” Macron told reporters on Thursday after the European Political Community summit in Moldova, which drew nearly 50 leaders including Zelenskiy.  



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