Espreso. Global

Ukraine's NATO membership: Timely proposal

12 November, 2023 Sunday

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former NATO Secretary General known for his work with Ukraine's leadership, has suggested fast-tracking Ukraine's entry into NATO. He advocates for this move at the upcoming North Atlantic Alliance summit in Washington. Rasmussen highlights that delays in Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic integration only fuel Russian President Putin's inclination to prolong the ongoing conflict

Rasmussen's proposal outlines admitting Ukraine to NATO with a specific focus. According to him, Article 5 of the North Atlantic Alliance Agreement should exclusively apply to territories presently under the legitimate control of the Ukrainian government. Notably, areas currently contested between Ukraine and Russia, presently under Russian control, would not fall under the purview of Article 5.

The ongoing debate about Ukraine's NATO accession, especially regarding unliberated territories, has persisted. The prevailing opinion among the majority of Western politicians is that Ukraine's full NATO membership should occur post-resolution of its conflict with Russia and the restoration of territorial integrity.

Over time, there's growing concern that the Russian-Ukrainian war could extend for years. For president Putin, the focus may not be solely on keeping control over captured Ukrainian territories, but on expanding this control to other regions. Post-2022, we are not dealing with a local conflict; instead, military operations span across Ukraine, considering systematic missile strikes and drone attacks.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen suggests that Ukraine joining NATO, even with Article 5 applying only to territories under the legitimate Ukrainian government, would signal to Putin that occupying parts of Ukraine won't halt its Euro-Atlantic integration. This could lead to a more localized conflict, as Putin wouldn't need to occupy or conquer new Ukrainian regions, he would not impede the country's European and Euro-Atlantic integration anyway.

While Kyiv previously gave conflicting signals, emphasizing NATO membership only with territorial integrity, the challenge lies in how NATO interprets this integrity. Ukraine can join NATO if member states respect its territorial integrity within internationally recognized borders.

However, Article 5 jurisdiction poses a different scenario. Rasmussen's proposal might ease Western leaders' concerns about being drawn into a conflict with Russia due to Ukraine's premature Euro-Atlantic integration.

Another crucial aspect is that both Ukraine and Western countries now seek the conflict's localization. The experience from the Middle East conflict is evident: the prolonged Russian-Ukrainian war spawns new conflicts.

The frequency of conflicts is on the rise every day. It's clear that the Middle East war won't be the final clash between democracies and dictatorships. There's a possibility that upcoming conflicts involving authoritarian countries could be even more hazardous than Russia's war in Ukraine and Hamas’ war with Israel. The Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine could be a fitting response to these challenges.

Predicting if the West will follow the advice of the former NATO Secretary General is challenging. Washington might not decide on Ukraine joining the North Atlantic Alliance. However, there are middle-ground options to consider. Ukraine's invitation to the Alliance could be a viable step, especially if the West recognizes the need for a substantial shift in the Russian-Ukrainian situation. If such an invitation is extended to Ukraine, it might follow the security guarantees model seen in recent years. Finland and Sweden received such assurances immediately after applying to NATO. Finland had these guarantees until joining NATO, and Sweden's security assurances from the USA and Great Britain persist, even with ongoing discussions about Sweden joining NATO. While there's hope for Sweden's NATO membership, it's uncertain when this might happen. Nonetheless, Sweden's security guarantees will persist, effectively turning the Baltic Sea into a de facto NATO-controlled region.

This model can be applied to Ukraine as well. If it ensures that Russia won't attempt to attack our entire country using means like drones, it eliminates the threat of a nuclear war—a perilous scenario where a nuclear nation strikes a non-nuclear one. Such security guarantees could replace the largely ineffective Budapest memorandum, which, in reality, failed to ensure Ukraine's security.

Exploring options becomes necessary, as the alternative is years of Russian-Ukrainian confrontation. This aligns with Russian president Putin's desire to exhaust and weaken the neighboring state through ongoing warfare.


About the author. Vitaliy Portnikov, journalist, the Shevchenko National Prize laureate.

The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the blog authors.

Read also:
  • News
2023, Friday
8 December
Ukraine receives German Luna NG UAV: Defense Express tells more about it
Ukrainian boxer Yarchevsky killed in war with Russia
Map of fighting in Kupyansk sector
Russia amasses troops near Synkivka - Ukrainian brigade on Kupyansk sector
Olympics 2024: Russians, Belarusians allowed to compete in neutral status
How many missiles can Russia use in one attack? Aviation expert names maximum number
UAVs, grenade launchers and ammunition: Germany hands over new aid package to Ukraine
map of fighting near Avdiivka
Russian forces are increasingly using 'meat assaults' in Avdiivka sector
Russia prepares mobilization after Putin's re-election - expert Stupak
Russia stops providing medical care to Ukrainians without its passports in Luhansk region
Ukrainian parliament adopts law on national minority rights
What about US aid? Has everyone abandoned us? Are we all going to die?
Four EU trade unions call for boycott of Polish carriers due to Ukrainian border blockade
Potential impact of freezing war in Ukraine: Analysis by military expert Kovalenko
Ukrainian counteroffensive: achievements and setbacks in summer-autumn campaign
German bank will provide over EUR 24 million to create energy-efficient housing for internally displaced Ukrainians
Scandalous and dangerous decision: Ukrainian MP comments on Poland’s investigation into Operation Vistula 
Russian shelling damages frontline thermal power plant
Putin announces his intention to run for president in 2024
Russia attacks Ukraine with cruise missiles, resulting in casualties: one person killed, 8 injured in Dnipropetrovsk region
Finland refuses to extradite Petrovsky, one of leaders in Russian Rusich Group, to Ukraine
Without Kyiv's membership in NATO, civilized world will lose
Russia fears expansion of Ukrainian bridgehead on left bank of Kherson region - military expert Zgurets
Apache and Black Hawk: helicopters price and waiting time 
In Ukraine, almost 500 settlements without power due to weather, hostilities and technological failures
Destroys targets at distance up to 8 km: Zgurets tells about US VAMPIRE anti-missile system
Russia holds about 500 medics in captivity - Ukraine to OSCE
"British special forces fought near Bucha": Russian fakes compilation for December 7
Russia uses new close assault strategy in Avdiivka sector. Serhiy Zgurets' Column
Gas pipeline catches fire in temporarily occupied Crimea
Russia launches 6 missile strikes on Kharkiv: 1 civilian killed, 2 injured
Russia tries to break through to Petropavlivka and Senkivka, Kharkiv region - Kupyansk Military Administration
Border blockade: Ukrainian railway company dispatches first trucks from Poland to Ukraine
Ukrainian Navy reveals Russian plans for Zalyv plant in Kerch, built before Crimea’s annexation
Russia loses 990 soldiers, 26 armored vehicles and 12 artillery systems in one day of war in Ukraine — General Staff
2023, Thursday
7 December
Victorious news of 652nd day of war: Russia’s losses near Avdiivka reach 15,000, Ukraine to receive Vampire counter-drone systems
Stormer: British invisible systems with super-fast missiles that massively destroy Russian drones
Switzerland's largest provider starts broadcasting Espreso TV channel
Enough explosives to ­destroy Russia’s Black Sea navy: The Times shows Ukrainian sea drones base
FrankenSAM is air defense revolution: what technologies US is transferring to Ukraine
28,000 civilian Ukrainians are held in Russian captivity — Commissioner for Human Rights
More news