The presidents of nine Central and Eastern European NATO member states have called on all NATO allies to substantially increase their military aid to Ukraine, according to a joint statement published on Oct. 2.
“We firmly stand behind the 2008 Bucharest NATO Summit decision concerning Ukraine’s future membership,” the statement says.
“We support Ukraine in its defence against Russia’s invasion, demand that Russia immediately withdraw from all the occupied territories, and encourage all allies to substantially increase their military aid to Ukraine.”
The presidents said they “cannot stay silent in the face of a blatant violation of international law by the Russian Federation.”
“We reiterate our support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” reads the statement.
“We do not recognize and will never recognize Russian attempts to annex any Ukrainian territory.”
The statement was signed by:
- President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda;
- President of the Czech Republic Miloš Zeman;
- President of the Republic of Estonia Alar Karis;
- President of the Republic of Latvia Egils Levits;
- President of the Republic of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda;
- President of the Republic of North Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski;
- President of Montenegro Milo Đukanović;
- President of Romania Klaus Iohannis;
- President of the Slovak Republic Zuzana Čaputová.
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 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.
In the meantime, the White House said that it was “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.