Russian officials are demanding that any negotiations with NATO over the future status of Ukraine assure that the nation will never join NATO as a member.
It’s not hard to see why, as Ukraine has a long border with Russia, and particularly during tense times between NATO and Russia, the nation would just as soon not have NATO troops directly on their border.
It’s hard to imagine NATO seriously considering Ukraine for membership, despite pushes from the more bellicose nations to rush through their membership, both because of the ongoing civil war, and because Ukraine continues to claim Crimea, which Russia annexed earlier this year.
Much as with Georgia’s bid for NATO membership, having territorial claims outside of their direct control is a non-starter, as it virtually assures that NATO would be sucked immediately into a war over that territory.
Ukraine’s officials are still talking up NATO membership, with President Poroshenko saying it is “too early” to talk about a timeline, but that he is determined to make reforms to ready them for potential membership. Other Ukrainian leaders have suggested NATO membership is their primary goal, as a way to secure massive military aid.