The July 2023 NATO summit in Lithuania is likely to disappoint Ukraine since countries like the United States and Germany aren’t ready yet to give Kyiv clearer promises of accession beyond a vague NATO declaration from 2008.
Washington and Berlin made it clear behind closed doors that they wouldn’t make any new commitments regarding Ukraine’s accession to the bloc, although they don’t reject future membership as such, News in Germany writes, citing the DPA.
NATO is still afraid to provoke Russia
According to diplomats, opponents of a concrete prospect of accession explain their position by saying that this goal is currently not realistic and could distract from the much more important support for Ukraine. In addition, the West believes that there is a risk that new NATO commitments could provide Russia with arguments for even more aggressive warfare. Two weeks ago, the Kremlin reiterated its claims that Ukraine’s accession to the bloc was a threat to Russia.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba argues that Finland hasn’t felt any additional threat from Russia after becoming a NATO member, the same as the countries that were members before. He believes that it is the clear NATO accession roadmap for Ukraine that would show Vladimir Putin that he has already failed.
What will Ukraine get from the NATO summit?
At the NATO summit in Lithuania, Ukraine will be given a serious support package, which is now being worked on, and will be able to hold negotiations on closer cooperation in the form of a NATO-Ukraine Council.
According to diplomats, this enhanced cooperation can strengthen the sense of partnership and make a real difference.
So far, meetings between NATO and Ukraine have only been held as commission meetings and have focused primarily on reform requirements. Now, this can change.
Joe Biden’s administration also confirmed that it considers further weapons delivery and other assistance to Ukraine to be more important than NATO accession plans.
When will Ukraine see a roadmap for NATO accession?
As for real movement in the talks about Ukraine’s NATO accession prospects, we will probably see it only if Kyiv succeeds in the war against Russia.
Then the NATO states would be able to accept Ukraine without risking becoming a direct party to the war.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg recently indirectly ruled out Kyiv’s accession in times of war. He pointed out that NATO membership requires Ukraine to survive the war as an independent nation.