Ukrainian officials are still pushing for a commitment on Kyiv’s potential NATO membership at the alliance’s upcoming July summit in Vilnius, Lithuania.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday that there will be no formal invitation for Ukraine to join the alliance at the summit, which will be held from July 11-12.
Ukraine and its more hardline NATO backers recognize that Kyiv can’t join the alliance while fighting a war with Russia but want a promise on membership for when the conflict is over.
Ukrainian Ambassador to NATO Natalia Galibarenko told POLITICO on Tuesday that Kyiv seeks “some kind of invitation — or at least commitment […] to look at the timeframe and modalities of our membership.”
“We are realistic, we are not pushing right now to give us the membership,” she said. “Let’s stipulate some kind of a commitment, for example — when conditions allow, when the war will be over.”
While Galibarenko wants a promise that Ukraine can join NATO after the war, there’s no end to the conflict in sight. Such a commitment from NATO will also ensure a prolonged conflict, as one of Russia’s main motives for invading was Ukraine’s alignment with the alliance.
Ukraine was first promised it would eventually become a NATO member at the 2008 Bucharest summit but was never given a clear timeline. NATO made the commitment in 2008 even though then-US Ambassador to Russia William Burns, who now serves as CIA director, warned at the time in a cable released by WikiLeaks that Ukrainian entry into NATO was a major redline for Moscow.