The alliance’s leading military power, the United States, is hesitant to move beyond the pledge of membership given to Ukraine 15 years ago
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday that if Kiev loses in its conflict with Russia, there would be no point in discussing Ukraine’s NATO membership as there would no longer be a “sovereign” and “democratic” state left.
“Unless Ukraine is able to exist as a sovereign independent democratic state in Europe there is no issue to discuss about membership at all,” Stoltenberg said at Brussels Sprouts live podcast, hosted by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).
The alliance’s leading military power, the United States, is hesitant to move beyond the pledge of membership given to Ukraine 15 years ago.
By joining the US-led military alliance, Ukraine would be subject to the alliance’s Article 5 collective defense provision, which requires all members to assist in defending the country if it is attacked
Stoltenberg stated at a conference in Brussels on May 24 that the Western military alliance’s members are divided on what to do regarding Ukraine’s bid to join.
“On that issue, there are different views in the alliance and of course, the only way to make decisions in NATO is by consensus,” he said. “No one is able to tell you exactly what will be the final decision at the Vilnius summit on this issue.”
“The ultimate security guarantee will be NATO membership, but… that’s not something that will happen in the midst of a war,” he added, stressing that “the question is, what will we decide on and how will we address the issue of membership at the Vilnius summit? And as I said, it’s too early to say.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed on June 3 that only full membership in NATO can provide true protection for his country.
“We are not seeking a substitute for NATO, and it is crucial that our partners hear us,” Zelensky stated during a press conference.
“That’s why we are having numerous high-level meetings. We are not seeking an alternative,” he added while maintaining that the pre-existing commitment of NATO member states to defend one another would offer the best security guarantees for his country.