Ukraine wants to see a clear perspective of its NATO membership
Discussion on topic: “NATO and Ukraine: Vision-2030”. UCMC 09.02.2021
Government of Ukraine: Submission of the NATO Membership Plan will strengthen the transatlantic security system
KIEV – Ukraine strives to see a clear perspective of its NATO membership. This was stated by the Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Olga Stefanishina, speaking at the annual International Security Forum held in Halifax, Canada.
She stressed that 2021 will be decisive for NATO, as the presentation of the new NATO Strategic Concept until 2030 is scheduled for the summer, according to the Ukrainian Government Portal on November 24..
«A strong Alliance is impossible without strong allies. Ukraine seeks to see a clear perspective of its NATO membership: we constantly demonstrate this commitment by pursuing reforms, fulfilling the commitments and capabilities of our Armed Forces. Providing Ukraine with the NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) would be an extremely powerful signal for the transformation of the entire region, undoubtedly making the transatlantic security system stronger and more stable. Indeed, in some issues, such as countering hybrid threats, Ukraine – pioneer», – Olga Stefanishina said.
The Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister focused on the importance of the Black Sea region for the entire Euro-Atlantic security system:
«Security strategy issues in the Black Sea require more attention from NATO and the United States in particular. The increase in the military presence in the region should have become an issue on the high-level agenda and cannot be formed without Ukraine as a regional leader. In the context of Russian aggression – it is not just a matter of security in the Black Sea, but also of the democratic development of the entire region and even more, of strengthening NATO’s southeastern flank», – said the vice prime minister.
Meanwhile, as noted on the website of the command of the US Sixth Fleet, on Monday the USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) Arleigh Burke-class destroyer entered the Black Sea. A ship with a guided missile weapon involved in a routine operation «to ensure safety at sea» and in support of regional stability. This is the seventh entry into the Black Sea by a United States Navy ship since early 2020, emphasizes in the US Sixth Fleet..
Ukraine, NATO and the MAP
As you know, in April 2008, Bucharest hosted a summit meeting of representatives of NATO member states and states cooperating with the alliance. «Even on the eve of the summit, it was clear that the forum would be held under the sign of a search for compromises. […] In addition, on the last day of the forum – for the first time since 2002 – it was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin», – highlighted in a 2008 post.
Even then, during the Bucharest summit, five Eastern European countries – Albania, Croatia, Macedonia, Ukraine and Georgia – expected to receive an invitation to join the Membership Action Plan – IDA). However, candidate status at the Bucharest summit was approved only in relation to Albania and Croatia..
The fact that the provision of an Action Plan for NATO membership to Ukraine should be the next step in cooperation with the Alliance was noted on July 28, 2020 in a joint statement by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine.
«The ministers note with satisfaction that Ukraine has been granted the status of a partner with enhanced NATO capabilities. They support Ukraine’s aspirations for NATO membership. Submission of the NATO Membership Action Plan to Ukraine should be the next step in this direction», – emphasized in a statement on the website of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry to the created trilateral platform «Lublin Triangle».
Ukrainians and NATO
Chairman of the Public League Ukraine – NATO Sergey Dzherdzh notes that the Ukrainian society, according to dozens of opinion polls, supports the idea of NATO membership.
«There is a clear position and authority – and it is shaped in constitutional provisions. The legislator has laid in one row both European integration and NATO membership – it is a constitutional norm for government officials. And the position of the authorities today is not to discuss these issues, but to implement the Constitution», – says Sergei Dzherdzh to the correspondent of the Russian Service «Voices of America».
He recalls that the current president and the majority in the Verkhovna Rada came to power on pro-European slogans.
«President Zelensky’s first visit was to Brussels, where he visited NATO headquarters, and only then the structures of the European Union. The idea of the MAP, NATO membership is today supported by society, the security sector and the security forces, and the Ukrainian government», – notes Sergey Dzherdzh.
According to him, official Washington could give «clear signal» to their European partners regarding such an issue as the MAP in NATO for Ukraine.
«The solution to this issue could come under the influence of the new President Biden, with whom the leaders of European countries would want to associate new plans, as well as solve long-standing problems. Joe Biden could have a clear signal to his European partners that the United States would like to give a MAP to NATO for Ukraine and maybe some kind of compromise was found.», – notes Sergey Dzherdzh.
The decision is up to the Alliance
Director of Foreign Policy and International Security Programs of the Razumkov Center, military expert Alexey Melnik notes that in order to provide Ukraine with the MAP, it is necessary to understand what position the key states of the Alliance take on this issue.
«Most likely, all the arguments that were in 2008 remain, and I’m not sure that the key NATO member states, namely Germany and France, have changed their position. They see this step not as a step that leads to the security of the Alliance, but, on the contrary, undermines its security, fearing to provoke Russia», – Alexey Melnik says to the correspondent of the Russian Service «Voices of America».
He thinks one has to ask a question – what can be done in the current year that Ukraine has to change its position within NATO.
«It may be some changes in Russian policy, or something will change in Russia, or the Kremlin will become a partner for NATO, or the escalation will reach such a level that the admission of a new member with a combat-ready two hundred thousandth army into the ranks of the Alliance will be less risk than the danger of provoking Russia», – emphasizes Alexey Melnik.
MAP Ukraine – this is a political decision
Deputy Director of the Center for Army Research, Conversion and Disarmament Mikhail Samus recalls the final decision of the NATO Bucharest summit in 2008 and notes that the failure to provide the MAP to Ukraine at that time was a political decision.
«MAP – this is the beginning of preparations for joining, and this is not joining NATO, any country can receive an Action Plan to start preparing for membership in the Alliance. Failure to provide MAP to Ukraine – it was an exclusively political decision on the part of NATO and has nothing to do with the military, military-political, economic readiness of Ukraine to receive the MAP», – says Mikhail Samus to the correspondent of the Russian Service «Voices of America».
He believes that thanks to the personal pressure of Putin and Russia through France and Germany, NATO in the final decision of the Bucharest summit did not provide Ukraine and Georgia with the MAP..
«Instead, the final document stated that Ukraine and Georgia would be NATO members.», – notes Mikhail Samus.