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Judy Asks: Should NATO Admit Ukraine?

Secretary General of the Norwegian Atlantic Committee, Kate Hansen Bundt, and a selection of experts answer a question from Judy Dempsey on whether NATO should admit Ukraine to the Alliance.

Kate Hansen Bundt, Secretary General of the Norwegian Atlantic Committee

Russia’s current saber-rattling and increased military activity in and around Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region do not make it easy to give a conclusive answer to this question.

Ukraine, as a sovereign state, has the right to join whatever alliance it wants. That Kyiv’s goal is NATO membership was repeated by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on April 6, when he urged the organization to speed up his country’s accession.

This will not happen. First, the ongoing conflict with Russia as well as Ukraine’s political, economic, and military shortcomings make membership unacceptable according to NATO’s criteria. That’s exactly why the Kremlin keeps this conflict going.

Second, NATO membership is also a question of the alliance’s ability to guarantee its members’ security. NATO’s capability and will to defend Ukraine—or even invoke the article 5 mutual defense guarantee—is not realistic today.

The final question is whether such a membership would improve the overall security in the alliance or, quite the contrary, increase tensions with Russia and ultimately lead to war. In the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, Russia, Britain, and the United States guaranteed Ukraine’s territorial integrity in exchange for Kyiv’s nuclear arsenal. The United States assured Ukraine it would respond if the agreement were violated. Washington should continue to demand that Moscow end its aggression against Ukraine but not make promises it cannot yet keep.

You can read the full article on Carnegie Europe's website: https://carnegieeurope.eu/stra...