Blinken Vows ‘Ukraine Will Become a Member of NATO’

NATO first promised Ukraine would join the alliance back in 2008 despite warnings that the vow could provoke a war

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday vowed that Ukraine will eventually join NATO, repeating a provocative promise that the alliance first made at a summit in Bucharest in 2008.

“Ukraine will become a member of NATO,” Blinken said in Brussels alongside Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. NATO foreign ministers met in the Belgium capital to prepare for a NATO summit that will be held in Washington this July.

“Our purpose of the summit is to help build a bridge to that membership and to create a clear pathway for Ukraine moving forward. We’ve done a lot of work on that over the last couple of days here in Brussels, a lot more work to be done between now and the summit, but we will see, I think, at the summit very strong support for Ukraine going forward and its relationship with NATO,” Blinken said.

Leading up to its invasion of Ukraine, Russia was seeking a guarantee from the US that Ukraine wouldn’t ever join the alliance, but the Biden administration refused and never seriously engaged on the issue. Since the invasion was launched, NATO has doubled down on its promise to admit Ukraine eventually, but no clear timeline or assurances have been given since bringing Kyiv in now would put the alliance in a direct war with Russia.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was fuming last year after not receiving any sort of timeline on memberships at the NATO summit in Vilnius. NATO released a vague statement at the summit that it would only be in a “position to extend an invitation to Ukraine to join the alliance when allies agree and conditions are met.”

While not giving Ukraine a clear path, the US and NATO are still dangling the potential membership over Russia’s head, likely as a way to ensure the proxy war continues.

Back in 2008, then-US Ambassador to Russia William Burns, the current CIA director, wrote a cable warning against promising NATO membership to Ukraine and Georgia. He said the vow touches a “raw nerve” in Russia and raises serious security concerns for Moscow.

Burns wrote: “Not only does Russia perceive encirclement, and efforts to undermine Russia’s influence in the region, but it also fears unpredictable and uncontrolled consequences which would seriously affect Russian security interests.”

Burns said in the cable, which was released by WikiLeaks, that Russia was particularly concerned about Ukraine. “Experts tell us that Russia is particularly worried that the strong divisions in Ukraine over NATO membership, with much of the ethnic-Russian community against membership, could lead to a major split, involving violence or at worst, civil war. In that eventuality, Russia would have to decide whether to intervene; a decision Russia does not want to have to face,” he wrote.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.