NYT: NATO wants to show support for Ukraine, but only so much

11:49 10.04.2024 •

At a NATO-Ukraine Council meeting in Brussels
Photo: Getty Images

Admitting Kyiv is a nonstarter as long as the war with Russia is raging. But the  member nations want to show they are supporting Ukraine “for the long haul,” notes ‘The New York Times’.

When NATO’s leaders gather this summer to celebrate the 75th anniversary of their military alliance, the last thing they want to see is a resurgent Russian military marching across Ukraine because Europe was too weak to provide Kyiv with the support it needed.

What Ukraine wants, ultimately, is a formal invitation to join NATO. But alliance officials agree that is not going to happen at the festivities planned for Washington in July. NATO has no appetite for taking on a new member that, because of the alliance’s covenant of collective security, would draw it into the biggest land war in Europe since 1945.

That has sent NATO searching for some middle ground, something short of membership but meaty enough to show that it is backing Ukraine “for the long haul,” as Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary general, put it this week.

What that will be has so far proven elusive, according to senior Western diplomats involved in the discussions.

Proposals put forward this week at a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels to give NATO more control over coordinating military aid, financing and training for Ukraine’s forces were immediately met with skepticism.  

And none of these things may matter by July if Russia continues to gain ground and Ukraine looks losing the war — a prospect that has become all the more real with each month that Republicans in Congress continue to block a $60 billion aid package to Kyiv.

“The situation on the ground may look a lot worse than it is today, and then the real question becomes, ‘How do we make sure that Russia doesn’t win?’” said Ivo H. Daalder, a former American ambassador to NATO.

“That can change the whole nature of the debate. We can all think that the NATO summit is going to take place as if it’s the same as today, but it won’t,” said Mr. Daalder, president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. “The last two months have not been good for Ukraine, and there’s nothing in the offing that it’s going to get any better.”


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