United States and Germany Do Not Want Concrete Decisions on Ukraine's NATO Membership Yet

Tuesday, 2 May 2023

Ukraine's hopes for a more concrete prospect of joining NATO are in danger of being dashed.

As German Press Agency (DPA) reports, thus, such members of the Alliance as the United States and Germany have recently made it clear behind closed doors that they do not want to take on any obligations that would go beyond the vague NATO declaration of 2008.

In it, the then-heads of state and government agreed that Ukraine and Georgia should join NATO. However, there was no specific timeline or schedule for this.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently called on NATO to clear the way for Ukraine to join the Alliance at its next summit in July.

He explained that hardly anyone is making a greater contribution to Euro-Atlantic security than Ukrainian soldiers. Therefore, his country has done everything to ensure that Kyiv's application is granted.

Zelenskyy is receiving support for his demands from Central and Eastern European countries, particularly Lithuania. However, it is currently extremely unlikely that they will be able to convince NATO partners such as the United States to change course. As per diplomats, opponents of a specific accession prospect explain their position by saying that this goal is not realistic at the moment and could distract from much more important support for Ukraine. In addition, there is a risk that new commitments to NATO could provide Russia with arguments for an even more aggressive war.

As the diplomats state, work is currently underway on a package of support for Ukraine's accession to NATO, which has already been announced by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. In addition, there is talk of offering Ukraine the opportunity to negotiate even closer cooperation in the form of a NATO-Ukraine Council. One senior diplomat recently stated that this could strengthen the "sense of partnership" between NATO and Ukraine and make a real difference.

According to information from NATO circles, real progress in negotiations on Ukraine's accession prospects is likely to be made only when Ukraine succeeds in its war with Russia. Then NATO countries will not have to fear that by accepting Ukraine, they will become direct participants in the war.

Stoltenberg recently indirectly ruled out the possibility of Ukraine joining during the war. He noted that NATO membership requires that Ukraine survive the war as an independent state. "If Ukraine does not establish itself as a sovereign independent state in Europe, then there is no point in discussing membership," he said recently on the sidelines of a meeting of the International Contact Group for the Coordination of Military Assistance to Ukraine.

The NATO Secretary General came to Ukraine on 20 April for the first time since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion. He held talks with Zelenskyy in Kyiv and also visited the city of Bucha, which was under Russian occupation.

He stated that at the July summit in Vilnius, NATO member states are preparing to discuss Ukraine's membership and security guarantees, but the main issue is ensuring Ukraine's victory in the war.

If you notice an error, select the required text and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editors.