Ukraine and NATO: a new window of opportunities

Once, in the midst of the cold war, the creation of the North Atlantic defense Alliance of the EU and the United States became Europe a necessity. A guarantee against the encroachments of the Soviet Union, given the “creeping annexation” carried out by the Union in Czechoslovakia and Hungary. “It could go in West Germany, there were strong concerns Austria, 50 years of the Soviet Union began to expand aggression in Asia and it was clear that the countries that are the center of the Western bloc, are under direct threat”, — said the political analyst on international Affairs Taras Chornovil.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the termination of the Warsaw Pact (Warsaw Treaty of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance between Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, GDR, Poland, Romania, USSR and Czechoslovakia was signed on 14 may 1955 as a direct opposition to NATO, — the UNIAN), and started joining to the NATO and Eastern bloc countries.

Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria passed quite quickly this way. “Then there was the entry into NATO of the three Baltic States, which caused a terrible outrage in Russia. After all, it meant that the former Soviet Union countries, which Russia considered its own, become strangers” — like Chornovil.

As a consequence, Russia began a hard enough preventive actions to prevent the entry into NATO of a number of other countries. First and foremost is, of course, about Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. But the press came and the countries of the former Yugoslavia. However, joining the Alliance of Slovenia, and later Croatia, violated Russian plans. NATO membership of Montenegro, which the Kremlin considered his vassal, is another hard slap in the face for Russia.

Returning to Ukraine, Chornovil recalls how in the days of Yanukovych under the strict control of Russia in the Ukrainian legislation has purged the item about the priority for Ukraine to become a full member of NATO. Left, except that, the provisions that Ukraine plans to use the standards of the Alliance, and provides for the possibility of peaceful cooperation and partnership with NATO countries (formally, the same wording has in the relevant legislation of Russia).

The strategic course of Ukraine’s rapprochement with NATO was restored only after the revolution of Dignity. The annexation of Crimea by Russia and the outbreak of armed conflict in the Donbas forced the Ukrainian politicians to intensify cooperation with the Alliance. At the end of 2014, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the law on Ukraine’s refusal from the policy of “non-alignment”. According to the new Military doctrine of Ukraine, adopted in 2015, the deepening of cooperation with NATO and the achievement of the 2020 full interoperability of the Armed forces of Ukraine with armies of the countries — members of NATO has become a priority…

In 2017 in the Ukrainian politicum talking about the definition of the course of Ukraine in NATO as a priority of foreign policy. According to one of the authors of the bill registered in the Parliament, speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Andrei Parubiy, after a visit of the NATO parliamentary Assembly in Tbilisi and the results of communication with the allies and partners of Ukraine from the Alliance, the question arose of providing such priority as NATO membership for Ukraine in the domestic legislation. “The bill is defined and clearly fixed that for Ukraine in foreign policy, the key is the acquisition of membership in the North Atlantic Treaty organization. This bill, which clearly stated and clearly demonstrated the desire of Ukraine’s accession to NATO”, — he said at a plenary meeting on Tuesday.

According to Parubiy, the adoption of such a law could be an important sign for the allies of Ukraine, especially in light of the fact that this year Ukraine celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Charter on a distinctive partnership with NATO. “NATO is the guarantor of the security of the free world. NATO is the only force capable of stopping Putin’s aggressive Russia”, — said the speaker of the Verkhovna Rada.

According to Taras Chornovil, this bill may indeed find support in the session hall, given for his inclusion in the agenda voted 260 people’s deputies, when 226 votes required. “In recent weeks we’ve done a quick dash in the direction of NATO, so I think at the legislative level, this process will be completed within several weeks”, — optimistically declares political analyst on international Affairs.

In turn, an analyst of Fund “Maidan foreign Affairs” Bohdan Yaremenko does not share such optimism and reminds us that even in 2014, the MP from the faction “Batkivshchyna” Boris Tarasyuk has already submitted to the Verkhovna Rada a bill, which legally fixed the term of Ukraine’s course for NATO membership. Then the statements of politicians and remained at the level of statements… “it is Clear that the consolidation of the current legislative initiatives do not fundamentally change the situation regarding the prospects of Ukraine’s membership in NATO. But of course (at least, it’s one of the arguments for domestic political arena), it will be the obligation to spend money, resources, efforts to achieve this goal,” — said Yaremenko.

While this does not mean that Ukraine will be the next after Montenegro a member of the Alliance. According to Yaremenko, such hope is useless, because Europe is almost completely covered by NATO, but the territory, which involved, simply extend the formal “security umbrella”. In other words, on the same Montenegro in the near future no one will attack, therefore, the obligations of NATO to ensure the security of this country are rather declarative. With Ukraine the situation is radically different.

First, as noted by the Yaremenko Ukrainian elite is still not consolidated around the idea of NATO membership. Second, NATO can not trust our legal system, system of internal security of Ukraine, counterintelligence (due to the dominance of Russian agents), possibilities of Ukraine to protect themselves.

“Thus, if NATO accepts us, receives us with too many problems. Yes, and some resources, for example, in the form of APU. But the problem in this scenario exceed the potential benefits”, — said Bohdan Yaremenko.

According to political scientist Peter Oleshhuk, all the current fuss about the bill enshrines the aspiration of Ukraine to join NATO, nothing more than political PR. He reminds that the basis of the functioning of the North Atlantic Alliance is a fundamental principle of the collective responsibility and security. All members are equal participants of the organization are obliged to protect each other and by consensus make all the important decisions. In other words, while in the Alliance between the countries-members of NATO will not be unanimity regarding the accession of Ukraine, all our attempts to formalise this membership special effect will not have. Especially considering that today Ukraine’s entry into NATO means further confrontation between NATO and Russia, which, objectively, does not find support among the regular members.

On the other hand, it can be a stepping stone for the future. As you know, in 2008 the formal reason for the refusal of NATO to accept Ukraine, was “the lack of consensus in Ukrainian society in this matter.” In this regard, any steps, supporting Euro-Atlantic aspirations of Ukraine and Ukrainians, would be a certain argument when discussing the issue of Ukraine’s accession to the Alliance in the future.