The future of Ukraine is in NATO. With these words, the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, ended his first visit to Kyiv since the beginning of the war on Thursday. A few hours later, however, it was heard from Germany that this is not a very near future. German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said that accepting Ukraine “is not on the agenda”.
“The door is open, but now is not the time to make such a decision. It cannot be done just as a gesture of solidarity, we have to make a decision with a cool head and a hot heart. Not the other way around,” Pistorius said.
The government in Kyiv is appealing for the alliance to make a decision as soon as possible. With the fact that the Ukrainian army has proven its capabilities in the fight against the Russian aggressor and will be an asset to NATO.
Article 5 of the NATO Treaty stipulates that all members will come to the aid of whoever is attacked. Although the article does not apply automatically – the joint action must first be confirmed by the representatives of all 28 member countries at the meeting – it would mean that NATO as a whole is on the brink of war with Russia.
Stoltenberg said that the Ukrainian request will be dealt with at the July summit of the alliance in Vilnius, Lithuania. However, according to security analyst Pavel Havlíček from the Association for International Affairs (AMO), it is clear that there is no agreement among the alliance’s members on how to approach Ukraine.
“There will definitely be a qualitative shift in the cooperation between NATO and Ukraine at the summit in Vilnius. The key will be to complete the adaptation to the new conditions caused by the war that Russia is waging against Ukraine. At the tactical level, in the area of strategic thinking, but also in strengthening NATO’s capacity to resist a possible attack Russia. In particular, it will be about strengthening the so-called eastern wing of the alliance,” Havlíček told the online daily Aktuálně.cz.
Putin and Bush meeting
Germany, together with France, blocked Ukraine’s application to join NATO fifteen years ago, at the summit in Bucharest. The United States under the leadership of President George W. Bush wanted to push for entry, but Germany and France opposed it, because it would mean a confrontation with Russia. For the same reason, they also rejected Georgia’s candidacy.
Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister at the time, told Bush that Ukraine “is not a real state.” And he warned that Russia will react harshly to efforts to get Ukraine into NATO.
He told Bush in a one-on-one interview: “You should understand, George, that Ukraine is not a state. Part of it lies in Eastern Europe, part of it is our territory.”
For the first time then, he indicated that if Ukraine escapes Russian control and moves towards NATO, Russia will intervene with force.
Merkel did not change her mind
Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Nicolas Sarkozy said “no” to Ukraine on behalf of Germany and France. When the atrocities committed by Russian soldiers against civilians in the town of Bucha near Kyiv came to light last April, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy could not hold back. He said he would invite Merkel and Sarkozy to visit Buca to see what their stance at the Bucharest summit had caused.
However, the former chancellor said through her spokesperson that she still stands by the opinion from 2008.
A rather negative opinion of Hungary can also be expected regarding the support of Ukrainian membership. Since 2017, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government has blocked all negotiations between NATO and Kyiv, pointing out that Ukraine does not respect the rights of the Hungarian minority. Orbán also criticizes the European Union’s anti-Russian sanctions and refuses to participate in arming Ukraine. “We will not let the United States push us into war,” he said this week, for example.
Video: Ukrainian marines welcome new weapon (19/04/2023)
The Ukrainian Marine Corps welcomes the new French-made AMX-10 Cavalry | Video: Aktuálně.cz/Twitter/Oleksii Reznikov
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