US, Germany oppose NATO Membership Action Plan for Ukraine
Flags of NATO and Ukraine (Photo:WiR_Pixs / pixabay)
The United States, Germany, and Hungary are opposed to the idea of offering Ukraine a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) at the July summit in Vilnius – something Poland and the Baltic states are pushing for, the Financial Times reported on April 6, citing four officials familiar with the matter.
According to FT’s sources, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg presented NATO members with a document on "practical and political" security proposals for Ukraine. Allied foreign ministers had a lively debate at their recent meeting in Brussels discussing the subject. One Western official said the allies would need "several weeks of intense negotiations" before reaching a political result.
According to the report, all NATO members agree that Ukraine's membership in NATO cannot be discussed while the war with Russia is underway. At the same time, according to two people who attended the talks, some are supporting offering Ukraine a "political path" to membership at the Vilnius summit, which would strengthen Kyiv's ties to the alliance.
The FT writes that the United States opposes this proposal and is urging allies to focus on short-term military, financial and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, in order to help it repel the Russian invasion.
Washington is concerned that deepening ties during the war could "fuel" Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's narrative of a “hostile NATO,” and that Moscow could escalate, including by deploying nuclear weapons.
The report says that one of the options under consideration is to transform the NATO-Ukraine Commission into a NATO-Ukraine Council, thus raising the status of Ukraine as a partner of the alliance and making it a more active participant in NATO meetings and consultations.
The next NATO summit will take place in Vilnius, Lithuania, on July 11-12.
On April 4, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, during meetings with NATO representatives in Brussels, said that “Vilnius 2023 is an opportunity to correct the mistakes of Bucharest 2008.”
The 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest dashed Ukraine’s hopes of getting a Membership Action Plan that would have paved the way for becoming a full member of the alliance. At the time, Germany opposed inviting Ukraine into NATO, over concerns that it could antagonize Moscow.
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