On the outside looking in: Why NATO should invite Ukraine to join the Alliance at the Vilnius summit
10 July 2023, 17:50
author: Leonid Litra

Leonid Litra, Senior Research Fellow, in his article for European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) explained in details why NATO should invite Ukraine to join the alliance at NATO Summit in Vilnius.

Expectations for Vilnius

  • The summit currently seems set to offer Ukraine a package of incentives short of a membership invitation. This package would include the creation of a NATO-Ukraine council, guarantees of military and financial support (not to be confused with security guarantees), and a statement about future membership that will take advantage of “constructive ambiguity”.
  • NATO’s reticence has inspired Ukraine to fight for what it was promised at Bucharest.
  • The key point for NATO leaders to understand is that Ukraine will only become a member after the war, so there is no question of applying NATO’s Article 5 to the current situation.

The risks of not inviting Ukraine to join NATO

  • Without an invitation to join NATO, the Ukrainian government will lack the incentive to purse various important reforms, including promoting democratic civilian control over the military.
  • Concerns about whether Russia might escalate the war if a NATO invitation need to take into the account the possibility that Russia will escalate if Ukraine is denied an invitation.
  • The countries opposing Ukraine’s invitation are also worried that such a step might spark divisions within the alliance. But NATO unity would likely suffer more if the alliance decides to postpone an invitation.
  • Most importantly, the reluctance to extend an invitation is causing concern in Ukraine that its Western partners consider Ukraine’s membership a bargaining chip in possible future negotiations between the West and Russia. Such a decision would grossly ignore Ukraine’s position and the policy of “nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine”.
More details:

Subscribe to the news of New Europe Center and find out everything first!

Subscribe to our newsletter, so you do not miss anything!