Report: NATO Expected To Tell Ukraine Its Path Toward Membership Is ‘Irreversible’

The language could be included in a NATO communique that will be issued at the summit in Washington on Wednesday

NATO is likely to tell Ukraine that its path toward NATO membership is “irreversible” during the alliance’s summit that has begun in Washington, POLITICO reported on Tuesday.

The report said the language is already included in a draft version of the communique that’s set to be released on Wednesday. The text will be finalized on Tuesday night, but it has already been approved by the US and other major NATO countries.

The POLITICO report said the inclusion of the language would be a “stunning development” for Ukraine and a “major defeat” for Russia. But there’s no sign that Ukraine will be given a clear road map toward membership at the summit, meaning the communique will be another empty promise designed to continue the proxy war.

The issue of Ukraine’s potential NATO membership was a major motive for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine. During the lead-up to the invasion, the US refused to engage seriously with Russia’s demand for the US to give a guarantee that Ukraine wouldn’t be admitted into NATO despite telling Kyiv behind the scenes that there would be no membership for at least a decade.

Ukraine was first promised it would eventually become a NATO member at a 2008 summit in Bucharest, despite the issue being a major red line for Russia. At the time, then-US Ambassador to Russia William Burns, the current CIA director, warned 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.

In a cable published by WikiLeaks, 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.”

Since the Russian invasion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been looking for a clear path to NATO membership and stronger commitments. He was furious at last year’s NATO summit in Vilnius when the alliance issued a vague communique that said it “will be in a position to extend an invitation to Ukraine to join the Alliance when Allies agree and conditions are met.”

A Ukrainian official who spoke with POLITICO about this year’s NATO summit said other NATO members want stronger language than the US. “We’ve had sort of an agreement with the United States, so it will be really clear that the path to membership is irreversible. But other allies are really pushing for a stronger wording,” said Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanishyna.

“Great Britain, France, our Baltic friends” all want to make sure that the wording in the declaration is stronger than what the US has pushed, and leaves no room for doubt,” Stefanishyna added.

Author: Dave DeCamp

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