Andriy Zagorodnyuk, formerly Ukrainian Minister of Defense, in a piece at Foreign Affairs wants Ukraine to be admitted to NATO immediately:

Contrary to a popular misconception, NATO’s treaty does not require that members send troops to defend a NATO state that has been attacked. And the idea that Putin would meaningfully escalate because Ukraine joined the alliance reflects a misunderstanding of recent history. European states spent years ignoring Ukraine’s NATO application precisely to avoid antagonizing Moscow—and to precisely zero effect.

It is time, then, to let Ukraine join—not sooner or later, but now. By entering the alliance, the country will secure its future as part of the West, and it can be sure the United States and Europe will continue to help it fight against Moscow. Europe, too, will reap security benefits by allowing Ukraine to join the alliance. It is now apparent that the continent is not ready to defend itself and that its politicians have largely overestimated its security. Indeed, Europe will never be secure from Russia until it can militarily stop Moscow’s attacks. And no state is more qualified to do so than Ukraine.

With its massive support for Ukraine during the past 15 months, the alliance has in essence already paid all the costs of admitting Ukraine. By allowing the country to join now, NATO could begin reaping the benefits. Ukraine is the continent’s best hope for reestablishing peace and the rule of law across NATO’s eastern flanks. It should be welcomed and embraced.

while at 19FortyFive Daniel Davis advises that armed neutrality for Ukraine is a better solution:

Relations between Ukraine and Russia have been fraught with historic antagonisms which have been on display since 1991. The reason the country exploded into a civil war in 2014 was because of antagonisms between the eastern and western citizens of the country, many of which had been boiling in the background for centuries.

Eight years of war between 2014 and 2022 did not solve the problems, and events since will ensure the hatred between the two will endure for a generation or more into the future. It would be the height of folly to extend a security guarantee to a country that will continue to have an antagonistic relationship with its nuclear-armed neighbor for the foreseeable future. Rather than tie the future security of the entire NATO alliance to hoping a volatile relationship between two bitter rivals doesn’t again break into open conflict, the U.S. should pursue viable options that have a chance of preserving European and American national security long term.

Frankly stated, there is no guarantee that once this conflict has ended, by whatever means, war between Russia and Ukraine will not again break out. Given that this will remain an ever-present potential, it is crucial that the United States and Europe ensure that our territory remains free of war and Russia remains deterred from putting our security at risk. The first path to giving Kyiv its best chance to avoid future war is to support armed neutrality.

I think that NATO membership for Ukraine only makes sense if you believe that Russia can be deterred from pursuing its own national interest or that Ukraine can be so deterred.

Since I don’t think that either of those is true, I think that Mr. Davis’s is the better advice. Furthermore, it has long been NATO’s policy to avoid admitting new members with ongoing internal ethnic conflicts or disputed borders. Admitting Ukraine would mean discarding both of those factors.

1 comment… add one
  • Grey Shambler Link

    Plus remember, once a member of NATO, Ukrainians and Russians with Ukrainian citizenship can immigrate west, and they will.

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