Ukrainian accession not on NATO’s agenda, WSJ reports

5 April, 12:25 AM
Flags of Ukraine and NATO (Photo:US Embassy Kyiv, Ukraine / Facebook)

Flags of Ukraine and NATO (Photo:US Embassy Kyiv, Ukraine / Facebook)

NATO members are looking for ways to affirm their commitment to Kyiv – without making firm promises of Ukraine’s eventual membership in the alliance, The Wall Street Journal reported on April 4.

When U.S. President Joe Biden and other NATO leaders attend the upcoming July summit, they will face intense pressure from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy over progress on Ukraine's membership bid, the article says.

At the same time, Ukraine's desire to join NATO is likely to intensify if Kyiv succeeds in the much-anticipated spring counteroffensive. WSJ notes that the Armed Forces of Ukraine are the only ones among the European armed forces that not only defend against a Russian invasion, but also significantly attrit Putin's troops. Ukrainians are convinced this gives them the right to a seat at the NATO table.

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At the same time, WSJ notes that Finland's rapid entry into NATO contrasts with Ukraine's status and prospects with the alliance. In 2008, NATO announced that Ukraine would receive membership, but did not provide a time frame. Now officials are saying there is no quick action, primarily because Ukraine is at war with Russia, and membership would put the alliance in direct conflict with Moscow – something NATO is determined to avoid.

WSJ writes that with Ukraine's membership removed from NATO's agenda, the leaders are debating what they can offer to show support and encouragement without making extra promises or handing a propaganda victory for Russia. Whatever package is adopted at the Vilnius summit, it will form the basis of NATO relations with Kiev for months or years.

The piece, citing unnamed sources, reports that the debate within NATO is focused on issues like providing Ukraine with robust security guarantees, as well as balancing between building up short-term military capabilities and forming long-term political ties.

At the same time, discussions are underway about these potential arrangements. Poland, Lithuania, and Estonia are pushing for strong security guarantees and a clear membership path, with close political ties for Ukraine.

Other countries, including the United States, Germany, and France, are in favor of focusing more on short-term practical issues, such as providing Ukraine with weapons, funding, and humanitarian support.

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