NATO must support Ukraine against Russian aggression
When NATO hesitated over Ukraine’s and Georgia’s membership action plans in 2008, it gave Russia an unwitting green light to re-establish its sphere of influence in post-space space. Soviet.
More than a decade later, the dire consequences of this weak decision are evident. Entire regions of Georgia and Ukraine are currently under Russian occupation, while more than 14,000 Ukrainians have died as a result of the Kremlin’s ongoing military intervention in eastern Ukraine.
At the upcoming June 14 summit in Brussels, NATO leaders have the opportunity to support peace and democracy in Europe by agreeing to provide Ukraine with a Membership Action Plan (MAP). This document is a simple roadmap, not a guarantee of future membership. Nonetheless, it would be an important signal for a country fighting for freedom and democracy against the increasingly imperialist and authoritarian Russia of Vladimir Putin.
NATO membership is the safest and fastest way to restore peace in Ukraine and ensure the security of the entire region. Indeed, it is widely recognized as the only credible way to contain the Kremlin. “NATO is the only way to end the war in Donbass,” President Zelenskyy told NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in a recent telephone conversation. Earlier this year, Zelenskyy said that, if the opportunity arose, he would ask US President Joe Biden a simple question: “Why is Ukraine still not in NATO?”
Zelenskyy makes these statements and asks these questions on behalf of a country that has already defended its territorial integrity against Russia for more than seven years. Due to Putin’s ongoing war in eastern Ukraine and the Russian occupation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, a significant majority of Ukrainians now support NATO membership.
In the meantime, in early 2019, Ukraine enshrined the goal of NATO membership in its Constitution. The reforms necessary for Ukraine to achieve its Euro-Atlantic ambitions continue to be implemented by successive parliaments and presidential administrations.
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Ukrainians know they are not alone. On the contrary, Ukraine has received valuable international support since 2014. However, with the country now at the epicenter of a new cold war between Russia and the West, Ukraine deserves a much greater commitment from the United States. first world military alliance of free democracies.
It is likely that the outcome of this new cold war will be decided in Ukraine. On the eve of Ukraine’s thirtieth anniversary of independence, there is nothing Putin would like to see more than the collapse of the Ukrainian state. Putin does not accept Ukraine as a truly independent and sovereign state, let alone a member of NATO.
By offering Ukraine a clear path to membership, NATO would send Putin a strong message: “Not only, as an alliance of free democracies, do we recognize Ukrainian statehood; we are ready to defend it alongside the Ukrainians, who have held the front against all odds and defended the principles of a free Europe since 2014. ”
Such clarity would be welcome after seven years of ambiguity. The last time we saw such clarity from the White House was when George W. Bush openly supported Ukraine’s membership in NATO. But this door was closed by France, Germany and the United Kingdom during the Bucharest summit in 2008, which Putin insisted on attending personally.
Croatia and Albania were invited to join the alliance that year, while Georgia and Ukraine waited. Much to Putin’s delight, the two post-Soviet countries learned that they might be invited to join NATO someday, but not today.
Within months, Putin expressed his gratitude for the alliance’s caution in invading Georgia. Six years later, Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine. There is no doubt that he would have been dissuaded from acting against Georgia and Ukraine if they were members of NATO.
The consequences of NATO’s fateful decision in 2008 should inform the decisions of NATO leaders in 2021. This should encourage them to take a bold stance and stand up to a tyrant who has repeatedly demonstrated that he is is emboldened by signs of weakness and appeasement.
Current NATO members, including Germany, who oppose Ukraine’s NATO roadmap and repeat Russia’s message that a MAP cannot be granted to occupied countries or at war, should remember that West Germany was protected by NATO membership while East Germany was occupied.
The implications for European security of rejecting Ukraine’s NATO candidacy are potentially serious. Every student of modern Russia will tell you that Putin and the wider Kremlin leadership understand only the language of force. Without the prospect of a NATO MAP, the chances of a further Russian military escalation against Ukraine increase dramatically.
In the three decades since the collapse of the USSR, Russia adopted a revengeful foreign policy in the post-Soviet space and used its military might to create a series of puppet republics within the borders. from Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and Azerbaijan.
Since the attack on Ukraine began in 2014, Russia’s revisionist campaign of aggression has gone global. Moscow has carried out assassinations, cyber attacks, disinformation campaigns and a series of other provocations in Europe, North America and beyond, while supporting authoritarian leaders such as Belarusian dictator Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Syrian Bashar al -Assad.
It is time to return to the previous US position in favor of Ukraine joining NATO. It would send the clearest message that the world’s democracies are determined to end Russia’s global brutality.
Paul Grod is president of the Ukrainian World Congress.
Tue 9 Feb 2021
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