President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has voiced his frustration with NATO, calling it “absurd” that the military alliance has not set a specific timeframe for Ukraine’s invitation to join. In a strongly-worded statement on Twitter, Zelensky expressed his disappointment at the absence of clarity regarding Ukraine’s path to NATO membership.
Zelensky highlighted that it is unprecedented and illogical that neither an invitation nor a membership timeline has been established. He remarked, “It seems there is no readiness neither to invite Ukraine to NATO nor to make it a member of the alliance.”
NATO previously committed in 2008 that Ukraine would eventually become a member, but the alliance did not outline the process or specify when this would occur. Zelensky revealed that he had received signals en route to the NATO summit in Vilnius, indicating that discussions were taking place regarding certain wording that excluded Ukraine from the equation.
He clarified that the wording under consideration pertained to the invitation to become a NATO member, rather than Ukraine’s actual membership. Zelensky emphasized the need for certainty, emphasizing that uncertainty weakens the situation. He pledged to address this issue openly during the summit.
However, NATO allies find themselves at odds over Ukraine’s membership, especially concerning the timing of its inclusion following the end of the Russian invasion. While the United Kingdom is in favour of expediting Ukraine’s membership process, the Baltic states and Eastern European nations are calling for clear conditions that Ukraine must fulfil to join the alliance.
Conversely, some allies, including the United States and Germany, adopt a more cautious approach. They prioritize Ukraine addressing corruption, strengthening the judiciary, and ensuring civilian control over the military as prerequisites for membership. Additionally, concerns persist regarding the potential for NATO to become entangled in the ongoing conflict.