Expert says security guarantees from US, UK are vital for Ukraine ahead of NATO membership

23 April, 12:42 PM
A pigeon flies past the flag of Ukraine in Chasovoy Yar near Bakhmut, April 11, 2023 (Photo:REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)

A pigeon flies past the flag of Ukraine in Chasovoy Yar near Bakhmut, April 11, 2023 (Photo:REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)

Until it becomes a member of NATO, Ukraine can’t look to the defensive alliance to provide security guarantees, but will instead have to obtain them from individual countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, the head of the Ukrainian Delegation to NATO Yuriy Romanyuk has said.

“Specific NATO countries are ready to provide security guarantees to Ukraine to some extent, which are currently roughly defined between Kyiv and these specific countries,” Romanyuk said, referring mainly to the United States and the UK, in an interview with Radio NV on April 23.

“For example, NATO countries (individually, not under the alliance) have guaranteed the security of Sweden and Finland until they join NATO, they guaranteed their security. The United States, UK, the Baltic countries, Poland, Norway, which were NATO members at that time, also guaranteed their security.”

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But Romanyuk emphasized that the alliance itself cannot provide such guarantees.

“It (the North Atlantic Alliance) cannot guarantee the security of a country that is not a member of NATO and is not even in the process of being admitted to NATO, like Finland and Sweden are today,” he said.

“Therefore, NATO as an institution will certainly not provide such a guarantee to Ukraine. This is 1000% certain, not even 100%.”

Romanyuk said security guarantees for Ukraine will be adopted by individual countries at the level of national legislation.

“We need a guarantee from at least two countries – the United States and UK first and foremost,” he said.

“The Poles, I also think, will eventually join in if this is considered on a real basis. I think the Baltic countries will do the same. They already, in essence, give us the largest share of their military budget. Latvia provides (Ukraine with) 52-53% of all funds (Latvia) has allocated to defense.”

He also noted that guarantees from “countries that please Russia,” such as Kazakhstan, Armenia, or Belarus, do not suit Ukraine because it is absurd and undermines the very essence of such guarantees.”

Romanyuk said that today the issue of security guarantees for Ukraine is currently “at purely the discussion stage.”

“None of the countries that, in my opinion, can provide a guarantee for Ukraine, have expressed such assurances today,” he said.

“The countries that do express them, conditionally speaking, are, for example, Cyprus – although it is not a NATO country – and Turkey, which has very doubtful guarantees due to its friendly relations with Russia. All the other countries that are not NATO members are not providing such guarantees either.

“Unfortunately, the key countries – the United States, Britain, and Poland – do not provide us with such guarantees, and there are no proposals from them. Therefore, the concept that came from (the Ukrainian presidential administration on) Bankova – that we want to form such a concept so that we are provided with such a guarantee until the moment of accession – this is still, excuse me, (just) our Ukrainian national ‘wishes.’”

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated on Feb. 19 that the NATO allies should complete work on security guarantees for Ukraine prior to the alliance leaders' summit in July this year.

During his visit to Ukraine on April 20, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg acknowledged that the issue of security guarantees for Ukraine would be an important topic at the NATO summit in Vilnius in July.

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