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NATO Says 'Door is Open' for Ukraine Membership....But
The Alliance made clear that Kyiv is not protected by Article 5 just days before Russia's invasion.
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Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of NATO, dangled the possibility that Ukraine may someday, in the future, join the Alliance and benefit from the protection of Article 5 that, when distilled, says: an attack on one, is an attack on all.
He made the comment during a two-day summit in Bucharest where Ukraine’s electric grid and Russia’s relentless air campaign took center stage. The Russian strikes have left millions in the dark as temperatures hit 19 degrees in Kyiv.
“NATO’s door is open,” he said, according to The New York Times. But he noted that the calvary is not coming during this conflict. “NATO will continue to stand for Ukraine as long as it takes. We will not back down.”
In September, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, announced that Kyiv filed a new, expedited application to join NATO in light of Russian President Vladimir Putin annexing four occupied regions in the country.
Zelensky, correctly said in a statement that Finland and Sweden benefited from an accelerated accession into the Alliance. (But neither of those countries are members.)
“De facto, we have already proven interoperability with the Alliance’s standards, they are real for Ukraine — real on the battlefield and in all aspects of our interaction,” Zelensky said.
“Today, Ukraine is applying to make it de jure. Under a procedure consistent with our significance for the protection of our entire community. Under an accelerated procedure,” the statement continued.
Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, killed the idea and said, the issue should be taken up “at a different time.”
New Issue Alert: Politics is the New Religion
NATO’s refusal to accept Ukraine into the fold is understandable because it would assure the beginning of WWIII. But it has still been a sensitive subject in Kyiv.
Last summer, Ihor Zhovkva, the deputy chief of staff for Zelensky, said in an interview that Kyiv was told by NATO that it is “not a member because we do not want you.”
“NATO is telling us we are not giving you anything,” he said in an interview with a local news outlet in Kyiv, according to Bloomberg.
Some could argue that Ukraine was the victim misleading public statements from the U.S. and NATO prior to the invasion.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Stoltenberg said Moscow would be met with a“forceful” response if there was an invasion. Blinken went further and said the U.S. has a "sacred obligation" to defend its allies.
Under Article 10 of the 1949 Washington Treaty, NATO has the right to invite any willing European country into the fold. But Stoltenberg made it clear, before the invasion, that there is a distinction between a NATO partner and ally. Kyiv is a partner. NATO is compelled to only defend allies. NATO countries never embraced Ukraine as an ally because it meant certain war with Russia.
Moscow has been complaining of the expansion of NATO into its backyard for years and saw the buildup as an existential threat. But the European Alliance responded to the Kremlin by saying it will not let Moscow dictate who becomes a member or where it expands.
TREND FORECAST: As The Trends Journal pointed out before the war, the U.S. will not go to war with Russia over Ukraine. The military in Ukraine is no match against the Russians, and its only hope for security in the future is to become a member of NATO, which will not happen.