Negotiations and formal procedures on Ukraine’s admission to NATO should begin right now, despite the war, Lithuanian news agency Delfi quoted Lithuanian Minister of National Defence Arvydas Anušauskas as saying on Oct. 1.
“The most important thing is not the simplified procedures for admission to NATO, which were applied to Sweden and Finland, but the consensus of (all)30 (NATO) countries – the agreement that this country (Ukraine) can be accepted into NATO and the process itself should begin, despite the war,” he said.
Anušauskas said that, in this case, Western countries cannot remain in the same position as before the war.
“Security guarantees for Ukraine should be increased right now,” the minister said.
Anušauskas added Lithuania supports NATO’s “open door policy,” so Ukraine can count on its support, even if it seems a difficult goal.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced on Sept. 30 that his country would apply for NATO membership on an expedited basis. The document was signed by the president, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, and Verkhovna Rada Speaker Ruslan Stefanchuk.
According to Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the head of the President’s Office to Ukraine, Ukraine held consultations with NATO before filing its request to join the alliance on an expedited basis.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg responded to Ukraine’s request during a briefing on Sept. 30. He said that the doors of NATO remain open to all democratic countries of Europe. Stoltenberg affirmed that the alliance supports Ukraine’s right to choose its own ways and means to security guarantees.
However, Stoltenberg also noted that the decision on membership must ultimately be approved by all 30 members of the alliance. According to him, NATO is now focused on giving Ukraine the direct support and help it needs to defend itself: “This is now the main direction and the primary focus of the NATO allies,” he said.
Canada and the Baltic states immediately backed Ukraine’s NATO membership application. Germany also supports Ukraine’s bid to join NATO, but also said a unanimous decision was needed.
Meanwhile, the White House has said that it is “not the right time” for Ukraine’s admission to the alliance.
U.S. news outlet Politico reported that Ukraine’s announcement caught U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration off guard.
Ukraine set its course towards membership of the European Union and NATO through amendments made to its constitution made on Feb. 21, 2019. The primary motivations for the amendments were Russia’s aggression and its occupation of Crimea and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in 2014.
Ukraine requested that it be granted the NATO Membership Action Plan back in 2008, but it, along with Georgia, was refused.
Russia subsequently attacked, invaded and occupied parts of both countries.