My impression so far is Ukraine didn’t gain any ground in it’s desire to join NATO. And will continue to be used as a proxy army.
NATO leaders gathered Wednesday to launch a highly symbolic new forum for ties with Ukraine, after committing to provide the country with more military assistance for fighting Russia but only vague assurances of future membership.
The setting is part of NATO’s effort to bring Ukraine as close as possible to the military alliance without actually joining it. On Tuesday, the leaders said in their communique summarizing the summit’s conclusions that Ukraine can join “when allies agree and conditions are met.”
“The results of the summit are good, but if there were an invitation, that would be ideal,” Zelenskyy said, through a translator.
Despite his disappointment, the Ukrainian leader was more conciliatory on Wednesday than the previous day, when he harshly criticized the lack of a timeline for membership as “unprecedented and absurd.”
“We have to stay outside of this war but be able to support Ukraine. We managed that very delicate balancing act for the last 17 months. It’s to the benefit of everyone that we maintain that balancing act,” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said Wednesday.
Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins, whose country lies on NATO’s eastern flank and has a long, troubled history with Russia, said he would have preferred more for Ukraine.
“There will always be a difference of flavor of how fast you would want to go,” he said. However, Karins added, “at the end of it, what everyone gets, including Ukraine, and what Moscow sees is we are all very united.”
Amanda Sloat, senior director of European affairs for the U.S. National Security Council, defended the summit’s decisions.
“I would agree that the communique is unprecedented, but I see that in a positive way,” she told reporters on Wednesday.
Sloat noted that Ukraine will not need to submit a “membership action plan” as it seeks to join NATO, although she said “there are still governance and security sector reforms that are going to be required.” The action plan is usually a key step in the process that involves advice and assistance for countries seeking to join.
There’s been more caution inside the summit itself, especially from Biden, who has explicitly said he doesn’t think Ukraine is ready to join NATO. There are concerns that the country’s democracy is unstable and its corruption remains too deeply rooted.
Translation, Ukraine is more useful to the US outside of NATO.