After meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said that Ukraine hopes to be invited this year to join a NATO Membership Action Plan. In his words: “NATO is the only way to end the war in Donbass. Ukraine’s MAP will be a real signal for Russia.”
Stoltenberg did not reply directly to this request, but repeated, in a tweet, the usual NATO line about supporting Ukraine against Russian aggression. The Biden administration on the other hand, is essentially trying to shelve the issue. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the administration has been discussing Ukraine’s membership aspirations with Kiev however, “we are strong supporters of them, we are engaged with them… but that is a decision for NATO to make.”
Shelving the issue of NATO membership for Ukraine (and Georgia) is good. Abandoning it would be even better. For what after all do Zelensky’s words about the Donbas really mean? He is suggesting that NATO, with Ukraine as a member, would threaten to go to war with Russia in order to force Russia to abandon the Donbas. And not just that: NATO would have to try to force Russia to give up the annexation of Crimea and abandon its naval base at Sevastopol and its entire strategic position in the Black Sea.
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