President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced he was accelerating his country’s bid to join North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), after Russia declared it would annex four new regions of Ukrainian territory in a land grab widely denounced. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated that only thirty NATO members can decide on Ukraine’s membership and that membership requires unanimity.
On the other hand, on October 3, 2022, the heads of nine European NATO members on Sunday issued a joint statement backing a path to membership for Ukraine in the United States of America (US)-led security alliance, and calling on all 30 NATO nations to ramp up military aid for Kyiv. The NATO member Bulgaria declared that it is against Ukraine’s membership until the conflict with Russia is over; the US stated that the membership application should be left to another time.
From this point of view, Ankara Center for Crisis and Policy Studies (ANKASAM) presents the views of Alan Malcher, Expert of “Narrative Strategies” to evaluate Ukraine’s NATO membership.
- Ukraine applies for NATO membership after Russia annexes territory on Friday. Why was the application made after the seventh month of the war? And is it possible for Ukraine to join NATO in the current process?
Among the false pretext for war was Kremlin propaganda claiming Ukraine joining NATO represented a threat to Russia and land near the border was already being leased to the US to allow missiles to be pointed at Russia. I would say that Ukraine’s NATO membership is a highly controversial issue in these circumstances.
- We know that Sweden and Finland are also aiming for NATO membership. Could a different process be experienced for Ukraine?
Sweden and Finland should have no problem being given full membership and as we saw after they submitted their applications British and other NATO forces conducted major exercises in their countries possibly as a warning to Russia. However, the process may work differently for Ukraine.
- The heads of nine European NATO members on Sunday issued a joint statement backing a path to membership for Ukraine in the US-led security alliance, and calling on all 30 NATO nations to ramp up military aid for Kyiv. However, President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev declared himself against Ukraine’s membership in NATO until the conflict with Russia ends. So, do all NATO allies support Ukraine’s accession to the alliance?
Ukraine membership raises various problems. Although some members support their application because Ukraine is already at war this poses legal issues when it comes to Collective Defence under Article 5- ‘An attack on one ally is an attack on one’ which was invoked for the first time after the 9/11 attack against the US. The key word here is ‘after.’ As Ukraine has already been attacked, is not a member of NATO and is currently war calls into question whether they can be protected under the Article.
- The US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that Ukraine’s application for NATO membership should be considered at another time, and that the most important assistance that can be given at present is support on the ground. How should we read this statement? How exactly is the US approaching Ukraine’s NATO membership?
I would be very surprised if Ukraine did not become a full member after the war and I would not rule out NATO involvement against Russia should Putin use nuclear or biological weapons. In fact, his threats to use his nuclear weapons could lead to Ukraine receiving membership despite Article 5.
After serving with the Parachute Regiment Alan Malcher worked for crown services of the British government and is now a military historian and freelance journalist living in central London. He is a defense and security expert at the London-based research center Narrative Strategies and holds a master’s degree in modern social and cultural history from the University of London. Apart from being engaged in historical research he also publishes papers and books on current military affairs associated with information warfare.