Heidi Hardt

"A key priority for the 31 heads of state meeting in Vilnius for this week’s NATO summit was to signal unity among allies (i.e., member states)—particularly their support for Ukraine. But NATO allies have found themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, the first full-scale invasion of a sovereign state in decades in the Euro-Atlantic region has prompted NATO allies to supply Ukraine with billions of dollars worth of military and humanitarian aid. At the same time, most remain unwilling to accede to Ukraine’s demand for membership so long as the country is at war, out of concerns it could trigger a NATO-Russia war. Consequently, the latest negotiations on Ukraine’s membership have led to the removal of a bureaucratic step (specifically, the requirement of a Membership Action Plan) without specifics on a timeline.

As an official NATO partner, Ukraine has long worked closely with allies, even during its Orange Revolution. The country has participated in numerous NATO military operations (e.g., Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan), cooperated on counterterrorism efforts, and collaborated on a wide range of security activities. In 2014, NATO was quick to condemn the illegal annexation of Crimea, established a rapid response force, among other activities, and, in 2022, it swiftly labeled the invasion as reckless, unprovoked, and a breach of international law. Nevertheless, NATO’s priority continues to be the collective defense of its existing allies. In the past year, NATO has adjusted its defense posture, increasing the number of multilateral battalions, exercises, and trainings in the east, and has drawn on lessons from the Cold War on deterrence. However, the slow progress of the war has allies considering new ways to ramp up support—as seen in the United States’ controversial decision to send Ukraine cluster munitions, despite the dangers to civilians, especially children, and the weapon’s ban in 123 countries."

Continue reading at https://ucigcc.org/blog/what-we-learned-from-the-nato-summit/

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