Espreso. Global

'Israeli model' of security guarantees for Ukraine

11 July, 2023 Tuesday

This option of security guarantees for Ukraine is increasingly being voiced in public statements and comments by Western politicians and experts as an alternative to Ukraine's full NATO membership, and as a certain transitional stage on the way to joining the Alliance

US President Joe Biden's comments before his visit to Vilnius for the NATO summit showed that Washington has not yet adopted a clear position on the inevitability of Ukraine's membership in NATO and is inclined to view the 'Israeli model' as a search for another 'alternative'. 

According to the White House's vision, bilateral security guarantees will pave the way for the United States to provide Ukraine with "various forms of military assistance, intelligence and information sharing, cyber support, and other forms of material support to help Ukraine defend itself and deter future aggression." At the same time, the media is saying that Biden was referring to the use of the 'Israeli model' while the war continues, but the US president clearly emphasized that Ukraine can receive such security guarantees "if there is a ceasefire, if there is a peace agreement." The classic diplomatic approach is to interpret these words of the US president, because until now, the talk has been about NATO membership after victory, not just security guarantees.

At the same time, Ukraine is already receiving similar amounts and forms of assistance from its allies, but does this allow us to say that our victory is approaching and that we are preventing new Russian aggression?

There is no doubt that during his stay in Vilnius, the President of Ukraine will discuss this model of guarantees with his Euro-Atlantic counterparts, and therefore its content will largely depend on the position of the Ukrainian authorities.

"Among the fundamental weaknesses of the 'Israeli' guarantees are the lack of a clear link to NATO membership, continued dependence on the internal political situation in the guarantor countries, in particular the United States, as there will be a need for approval of financial allocations by Congress and national parliaments, and the preservation of the philosophy of "assistance for better war preparedness" rather than "peace guarantees," which does not contribute to increasing investment potential and speeding up the return of Ukrainian citizens who found themselves abroad as a result of the war to Ukraine."

In addition, this model does not provide for the preservation of a powerful sanctions regime against the aggressor country, which will use any temporary truce to re-equip and prepare for a new aggressive war and the destruction of Ukrainian statehood.

It is worth remembering that the success of the 'Israeli model' was made possible, among other things, by the availability of nuclear weapons. Also, one should take into account the specificity, and thus the difference from the Ukrainian context, of geographical and territorial conditions, the size of the state, the scale of the threat and the uniqueness of the enemies.

Could the 'Israeli model of security guarantees' protect Israel from a Russian invasion? The best rhetorical answer to this question is the restrained position of the Israeli authorities regarding the provision of lethal weapons to Ukraine.

Read also:  About Ukraine without Ukraine in whispers and out loud

"And one more rhetorical question for our partners: would you - in Berlin, Paris, Rome, Budapest - feel safe without NATO membership, but with the guarantees you offer Ukraine?" 

Therefore, there is no need to look for an 'alternative' in the current situation. From the point of view of Ukraine's best interests in the face of the long-term Russian threat, it is not 'security guarantees from NATO' but 'guarantees of NATO membership' that are in Ukraine's best interests. The 'Israeli model' works only in the realities of Israel. Any other models should be 'Ukrainian' and clearly lead to the realization of this strategic goal.

Such a 'Ukrainian model' of security guarantees should be based on five pillars: a clear link to NATO membership, including Article 5; a legally binding form for guarantor countries; maintaining sanctions against the aggressor to prevent a return to 'business as usual'; an emphasis on assistance in building a Western-style Ukrainian military-industrial complex; and proportionality of Western assistance to the scale of threats, the scale of Ukraine, and the scale of the enemy.

Ukraine should not become a security buffer for Europe outside of NATO, but a part of a united Europe and a powerful member of the North Atlantic Alliance. Only then can we talk about Ukraine's final victory.


About the author: Ukrainian diplomat, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine.

The editors don't always share the opinions expressed by the authors of the blogs.

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