Berlin reportedly prefers alternative security arrangements for Kiev to avoid direct conflict with Moscow
Germany stands against offering Kiev a clear roadmap or concrete guarantees of joining the Western military bloc at an upcoming summit in Lithuania, the Telegraph newspaper reported on Saturday, citing NATO officials.
“Berlin is stand-offish at the prospect of offering immediate membership… It wants a process and time to develop guarantees to essentially block membership,” an unnamed source within the military bloc told the British outlet.
Germany is reportedly wary that Kiev would immediately invoke Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which stipulates that an attack against one NATO member “shall be considered an attack against them all.”
Last month, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that “we have to take a sober look at the current situation.” He argued that even Ukrainian officials admit “that joining NATO is out of the question” for as long as the conflict with Russia is raging, and the Western bloc should focus on other means of “support” for Kiev.
US President Joe Biden voiced similar concerns in a recent interview, saying Ukraine’s NATO membership would mean “war with Russia,” and hinting instead at a sort of arrangement “a la the security we provide for Israel.”
French President Emmanuel Macron also mentioned the ‘Israel model’, saying in June that “we have to build something between the security provided to Israel and full-fledged membership.”
The US, Germany and France are “understood to be working on a series of bilateral security offers” to Kiev, which would then be placed under an umbrella ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ endorsed by NATO and the EU, the Telegraph wrote.
Ukraine has demanded an invitation from NATO, or at least an announcement of when it might be ready to bring it on board, at the upcoming summit in Vilnius, Lithuania. President Vladimir Zelensky reportedly even threatened to skip the summit unless the bloc offered “concrete” guarantees.
Despite some shift in rhetoric, NATO’s official position on Ukrainian membership remains mostly unchanged since 2008, when it declared that the bloc’s “door is open” and Ukraine “will become a member” at an unspecified point in the future.
Moscow has repeatedly said that it views NATO’s expansions to the east as a threat to its security, and has listed Ukraine’s neutrality as one of the conditions for any lasting peace between the two countries.