NATO Looks to ‘Israel Style’ Relationship With Ukraine, Rejecting Full Membership… For Now

Leaders from NATO member countries pose for an official photo on the opening day of the an
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NATO will make binding commitments to Ukraine modelled on its relationship with Israel but won’t commit to admitting it as a member until Russia has been defeated, it is claimed.

Leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) are meeting in Vilnius for the alliance’s annual summit today, and one of the major topics for discussion — beyond the apparent imminent admission of longtime European neutral Sweden, after Turkey appeared to drop its objections — is Ukrainian accession.

Ukraine has called to be admitted to the alliance immediately, but it is widely considered that due to the article five provision in the treaty that an attack against one is an attack against all, Ukraine becoming a member while it is being invaded by Russia would mean war for all allies. President Biden has rejected immediate membership and a timetable for membership, which some had called for, and seems to have got his way on an “Israel-style” relationship instead, where NATO commits to help Ukraine without admitting it as a member.

UK publication The Daily Telegraph cites unnamed diplomatic sources within NATO who claim this deal has already been all but agreed between NATO capitals Washington, London, Paris, and Berlin, and is now simply to be formalised at today’s conference and agreed with Kyiv.

While signing a memorandum with Ukraine would be a clear sign of commitment to the country — the Israeli deals, for instance, are renewed on a ten-year basis, the report states — it would not necessarily entail any immediate increase in military support. Aiding Ukraine in bringing its own military equipment and doctrine up to NATO standards over time would make future integration more smooth, however.

Before leaders gathered, NATO boss General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday afternoon that:

All Allies agree that Ukraine will become a member of the Alliance and I’m confident that the Summit will make decisions which will be strong and positive on Ukraine… this is about moving Ukraine closer to membership… The most urgent task now is to ensure that Ukraine prevails as a sovereign and independent nation in Europe because unless Ukraine prevails, then there is no membership issue to be discussed at all.

Ukraine’s Zelensky reacted with apparent displeasure to the direction of decisions, writing on Tuesday that Ukraine “deserves respect” and criticised decisions being made about the country’s entry into NATO without him being present. Zelensky is expected to arrive in Vilnius today.

He said:

It’s unprecedented and absurd when time frame is not set neither for the invitation nor for Ukraine’s membership… It seems there is no readiness neither to invite Ukraine to NATO nor to make it a member of the Alliance.

This means that a window of opportunity is being left to bargain Ukraine’s membership in NATO in negotiations with Russia. And for Russia, this means motivation to continue its terror. Uncertainty is weakness. And I will openly discuss this at the summit.

Russia has, typically, responded to the suggestion that Ukraine may become a NATO member — something discussed on-and-off for over 20 years — with threats. Speaking on Tuesday, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Ukraine joining the Western alliance is “potentially… very dangerous for European security and this really harbours very big dangers”.


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