Nine NATO allies support Ukraine’s membership
***An edited version of this article clarifies paragraph ten on NATO membership.
Nine Central and Eastern European NATO member states on Sunday (2 October) declared their support for Kiev’s NATO membership process after following Friday’s application.
in the Joint Statementthe Presidents of Poland, Romania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro and North Macedonia said that they “strongly supported» NATO’s decision at the 2008 Bucharest Summit on Ukraine’s prospects of joining the Alliance.
At the time, NATO allies promised that Ukraine and Georgia would eventually become members, without setting a concrete timeline for membership. The process stalled over the years, and after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, it seemed increasingly unlikely that the proposal would materialize.
The statement of support from the nine NATO members comes two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the annexation of four Ukrainian regions on Friday (September 30). This decision represents the largest land grab in Europe since World War II and has been denounced by the international community.
Just hours after the announcement, Ukraine said it had officially applied for accelerated NATO membership in hopes of reinvigorating its bid for membership.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg avoided supporting Ukraine’s candidacy in front of reporters on Friday, but reiterated the alliance’s open-door policy.
«Every democracy in Europe has the right to apply for NATO membership, NATO allies respect this right and we have said repeatedly that the door to NATO remains opensaid Herr Stoltenberg.
He added that at a recent summit in Madrid, NATO members reiterated that they “Support Ukraine’s right to choose its own path and decide which security arrangements it wants to participate in».
However, the formal process is unlikely to begin any time soon, as NATO members have so far been reluctant to consider Ukraine’s membership.
At the same time, the NATO treaty contains provisions, notably Article 5 of the Collective Defense Clause, restricting the admission of a candidate who is at war or whose territories are disputed.
Successive studies of NATO enlargement have emphasized that the settlement of ethnic disputes or external territorial disputes would be a determining factor in inviting a country to join the alliance.
Joining the alliance requires the unanimous support of its 30 members and there is no expedited procedure.
In recent months, NATO has welcomed the candidatures of two new European members, Finland and Sweden, prompted by security concerns following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
On Sunday Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, tweeted that 10 NATO countries support Ukraine’s entry into the western military alliance without naming them.
«Within 48 hours of signing the NATO membership application [le président Zelensky]Ten bloc countries supported Ukraine’s membership in the alliance – mostly countries remembering the empire’s poisonous fangs[russe]said Mr. Podolyak.
«We are grateful for this leadership and responsibility. A page of history is being written today“, he added.
In their joint statement, the nine heads of state and government of the NATO countries also pledged that they would never recognize the illegal annexation of the four Ukrainian regions by Russia.
«Russia [devrait] withdraw immediately from all occupied territories‘ we can read in their statement, which adds that ‘All allies are significantly increasing military aid to Ukraine».
«We reiterate our support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine“, They write.
Hungary and Bulgaria were not among the signatories.
The issue is likely to be addressed when NATO defense ministers meet in Brussels in mid-October for a regular meeting aimed at addressing Russia’s ongoing escalation and agreeing additional military support for Ukraine.
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