Zelensky calls for NATO security guarantees
A decision by Nato to allow Ukraine to join the military alliance could “prolong” and even “escalate” its war with Russia, a former British Air Vice Marshal has warned.
Last week President Volodymyr Zelensky travelled to Vilnius in Lithuania to attend the Nato summit.
The Ukrainian President had high hopes of receiving an invitation from Western leaders to join the military alliance.
At the the very least he appeared to expect a timeline for future membership, which would help guarantee the security of his country.
However he was left bitterly disappointed when neither option was offered.
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In an angry statement, the Ukrainian President called the reluctance of NATO members to offer his country a timeline for membership “absurd”.
Sean Bell, a military analyst and former RAF pilot, argued that the bigger security picture had to be considered and NATO leaders had indeed made the correct call to not extend an invitation of membership to Kyiv.
He said the most likely outcome of the war in Ukraine was a stalemate, with neither side achieving a clear “win”.
This would inevitably necessitate a negotiated agreement to end hostilities, but for this to happen both sides would need meaningful security guarantees to ensure a credible peace deal.
The former Air Vice Marshal pointed out that for Russia this would require an assurance from the West that Ukraine would not be admitted to Nato.
In an opinion piece for Sky News, he wrote: “Russia’s security concerns also need to be placated if peace is to be secured, and the steady expansion of NATO in the past 30 years has undoubtedly troubled a paranoid Russia.
“Mr Putin does not want Ukraine to join NATO, and if that appeared to be a foregone conclusion, it might stiffen Russia’s resolve to prolong the war to stop Ukraine joining the alliance.”
He added: “NATO membership offers one option to guarantee Ukraine’s long-term post-war security but it is not the only option, and agreement around NATO membership might just prolong – and even escalate – the devastating war in Ukraine.”
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, a former Secretary General of Nato from 2009-2014, rejected the idea that Nato enlargement was to blame for the war.
On the contrary, he insisted that it was the failure by Western leaders to allow Ukraine to join that encouraged the Russian President to invade in the first place.
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“It is often argued that the prospect of NATO enlargement incited Putin – the truth is the opposite,” he said at a round table discussion organised by the Atlantic Council.
“It was the failure to extend security guarantees to Ukraine that incited Putin.
“Grey zones are danger zones. Neutrality provides no security. Finland and Sweden realise that.”
The former NATO chief also argued that the present war should not be used as an excuse to deny Kyiv entry to the military alliance.
“Often I hear the argument that we cannot give Ukraine neither security guarantees or membership of NATO while there is a war going on,” he said.
“That is an extremely dangerous argument. If you make security guarantees and NATO membership dependent on cessation of hostilities, you are giving Putin an incentive to continue the war.
“By extending an invitation now, we tell Putin Ukraine will become a member of NATO.
“It will not happen overnight but you cannot stop this process. Our door is open for Ukraine and you (Putin) are not the doorman.”
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