The outcome of Ukraine’s war with Russia will determine whether it achieves NATO membership


During the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit held on July 11 and 12 in Lithuania's capital Vilnius, President Joe Biden and the Group of Seven (G7) leaders made a "generous" offer to Ukraine to aid in strengthening its military capability and vowed to protect the country from future attacks from Russia. However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's appeal for membership in the alliance was declined.

The Moon of Alabama (MoA), an independent open forum for members of a community that regularly discusses politics, economics, philosophy and blogger Billmon's Whiskey Bar writings, collated NATO's provisions as to how Kyiv will be offered the timetable of membership.

As per the Vilnius Summit Communique issued by the NATO heads:

"11. We fully support Ukraine's right to choose its own security arrangements. Ukraine's future is in NATO. We reaffirm the commitment we made at the 2008 Summit in Bucharest that Ukraine will become a member of NATO, and today we recognize that Ukraine's path to full Euro-Atlantic integration has moved beyond the need for the Membership Action Plan. Ukraine has become increasingly interoperable and politically integrated with the Alliance and has made substantial progress on its reform path. In line with the 1997 Charter on a Distinctive Partnership between NATO and Ukraine and the 2009 Complement, Allies will continue to support and review Ukraine's progress on interoperability as well as additional democratic and security sector reforms that are required. NATO Foreign Ministers will regularly assess progress through the adapted Annual National Program. The Alliance will support Ukraine in making these reforms on its path toward future membership."

However, it pointed out that they will extend the invite to join NATO "when the allies agree and conditions are met."

According to MoA, this last part of the provisions just meant that it sets an even higher standard or requirement than the 2008 "Bucharest Summit Declaration," when it said:

"23. NATO welcomes Ukraine's and Georgia's Euro-Atlantic aspirations for membership in NATO. We agreed today that these countries will become members of NATO. Both nations have made valuable contributions to Alliance operations. We welcome the democratic reforms in Ukraine and Georgia and look forward to free and fair parliamentary elections in Georgia in May. The Membership Action Plan (MAP) is the next step for Ukraine and Georgia on their direct way to membership. Today we make clear that we support these countries' applications for MAP. Therefore, we will now begin a period of intensive engagement with both at a high political level to address the questions still outstanding pertaining to their MAP applications. We have asked Foreign Ministers to make a first assessment of progress at their December 2008 meeting. Foreign Ministers have the authority to decide on the MAP applications of Ukraine and Georgia."

Better luck next time: Zelensky swallows back his words

Meanwhile, during a press conference held prior to the summit, Iryna Somer of Ukrainian news agency Interfax Ukraine asked NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg how far or how close the allies are to the possible membership for Ukraine. Stoltenberg replied: "We will provide support to Ukraine for as long as it takes. Because unless Ukraine wins this war, there's no membership issue to be discussed at all."

What hurts Zelensky is that he has ramped up his campaign for Ukraine to join NATO after Russia invaded last year. He has called for the 31 member states to take concrete steps towards Ukrainian membership so his country can quickly join the transatlantic alliance after the war.

In response to Kyiv's efforts to belong, Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened the use of nuclear weapons to escalate the war, setting fears among countries in the Western. This may have caused NATO to defer inviting Ukraine into the alliance. In fact, United States National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan announced they "are not seeking to start World War Three. Ukraine will not be joining NATO coming out of this summit."

Prior to Biden's and G7's vow of military support during the summit, Zelensky could not help but be disappointed, calling the decision "unprecedented and absurd." It wasn't what the Ukrainian government had wanted to hear. However, before the summit ended, Biden and Zelensky stood in front of cameras claiming that the NATO meetings have been successful.

The president from the Eastern Europe country even claimed that the summit results "had been good overall and welcomed a flurry of announcements of new military aid from allies." Zelensky also thanked the leaders for the new commitment. "The Ukrainian delegation is bringing home significant security, victory for Ukraine, for our country, for our people, for our children. It opens for us absolutely new security opportunities and I thank everyone who made it possible," he said.

Now, all the former comedian and actor president has to do is wait, try harder to win the war and continue to milk money from the "cows from the West" in order to finally be included in the "prestigious" alliance. 

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