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29 Jun. 2023

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What does Ukraine expect from the NATO summit and what are the obstacles?

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What does Ukraine expect from the NATO summit and what are the obstacles?

There are less than two weeks left before the long-awaited summit in Vilnius, where Ukraine's fate as a member of the Alliance will be decided. Find out what Ukraine expects from the summit and what obstacles exist on the way to NATO

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Analysts predict that the July meeting of NATO leaders in Vilnius will be crucial for Ukraine. The Ukrainian side is also convinced of this and believes that NATO members will support the decision proposed by Kyiv.


However, according to the comments of Volodymyr Zelenskyy's diplomatic advisor, Ihor Zhovkva, who is the direct supervisor of Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic integration, the state has no rash ideas about rapid accession and understands that it is impossible to become a NATO member during the war. However, the Ukrainian side is convinced that the hostilities are not an obstacle to an official political invitation to join NATO.


What else prevents Ukraine from joining NATO?


According to experts, at this stage, the main obstacles to Ukraine's membership in the Alliance are Biden's personal views. After all, it is the United States that now holds the position that Berlin and Paris held at the Bucharest Summit in 2008, blocking Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic future. That is, in fact, the parties have switched places, as in the past the United States was a supporter of granting the country the status of the MAP, and today France and Germany have become lobbyists for Ukraine's invitation to join the Alliance and have a principled position on this issue.


However, Ukraine's success in Vilnius also depends on a number of other issues, including the issue of security guarantees, which, once resolved, will ensure a diplomatic victory for the country and an official invitation to NATO.


Why is Biden blocking Ukraine's accession to NATO?


According to Ukrainian officials and some international leaders, the United States has not yet accepted the fact that Ukraine's actual membership in NATO is primarily for the benefit of the Alliance itself. And that this is a very important geopolitical step for global security.


Although the United States has not announced a direct refusal to support Ukraine's accession to NATO, Biden's recent statements indicate that America has many doubts about Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic integration. In particular, the White House's comments expressed doubts about the security and corruption of the Ukrainian military system.


In addition, Ukraine's main goal is to accelerate (simplify) its accession to the Alliance and receive security guarantees against russian aggression for the period before actual membership in NATO, as the state has already proven that the Ukrainian army more than meets NATO standards. And it is in this issue that an important problem is hidden, as Biden has personally stated that he will not simplify the system and lower standards for Ukraine to become part of the Euro-Atlantic Alliance.


What does Ukraine offer?


Ukraine has a principled position and is not ready to compromise on the expectations and requirements that were conveyed to NATO leaders before the summit in Vilnius. The details of the document handed over to NATO member states were not disclosed, but the general outlines of the proposals submitted by the Ukrainian side are known.


The first and foremost requirement is that Ukraine should be admitted to NATO under the same system as Sweden and Finland. That is, the Alliance should officially accept the "application for membership" and record that Ukraine will begin the process of Euro-Atlantic integration immediately after the end of hostilities without going through any intermediate stages, including the MAP.


The second important point is that Ukraine insists on a "political" invitation to join NATO. That is, the leaders of the Alliance should legally fix the Euro-Atlantic vector of the state.




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The third proposal concerns the future conditions for Ukraine's actual accession to NATO. In particular, the Ukrainian side insists that specific "conditions" should be defined that will allow the process of Ukraine's integration into the Alliance to begin. One of the most likely positive scenarios for Ukraine is a "political invitation" in July of this year with the final decision on accession in 2024 at the NATO summit to be held in Washington. However, for this to happen, the fighting must end by 2024.


Conditions for Ukraine's accession to NATO: after the victory - when?


Ukraine hopes that the summit in Vilnius will end the "era of support" and begin a new "era of membership." In other words, the summit should actually be the beginning of the country's Euro-Atlantic integration, which will come to its logical conclusion after the victory over russia.


However, the issue of defining this "victory" is now urgent, i.e., what will be the starting point for starting the process of joining NATO and launching the mechanism of security guarantees against russia's armed aggression. It is obvious that even after the liberation of all Ukrainian territories, including Crimea, and the withdrawal of the Ukrainian army to the 1991 borders, russia will not stop its missile attacks and shelling of the border areas. The question is whether this will be considered a new aggression or a continuation of the current war. 

In addition, analysts unanimously agree that putin will not sign a surrender or agree to pay reparations, and therefore it will be very difficult to determine the "official end of the war." This directly affects the mechanism of security guarantees. After all, in order for it to start working to "prevent new aggression from the russian federation," the current hostilities must end.


It is possible that a clear algorithm is spelled out in the proposals submitted by Ukraine to Western leaders, but this will be known only after the summit in Vilnius.


We remind you, today Ukraine is fighting russia not only on the frontline, but also in the political, economic, and cultural spheres. Find out how the fight against russia is going on at the diplomatic level and what other tools Ukraine is using to win this war here.




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