Thursday, October 5, 2023

Editorial: NATO is already opening the alliance’s door to Ukraine – but Putin’s Russia must be kicked out of the country first


Ukraine is an integral part of Europe’s new security architecture, writes special editor Jouko Juonala.

After the end of the Cold War, Ukraine was left to languish in Russia’s sphere of influence. It was not opened to the defense alliance NATO, unlike the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland in 1999 and the Baltic states, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia in 2004. If the gate had been opened, Russia probably would not have invaded Ukraine. February 2022.

Why did this happen? This long story was opened last Wednesday by Mary Elise Sarote, an American professor at the Foreign Policy Institute in Helsinki who is intimately familiar with the subject.

According to Sarote, who studied the original documents, several countries in East Central Europe declared their desire for Western integration shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall in late 1989. In the summer of 1991, the Warsaw Pact collapsed and Ukraine declared independence. Mikhail Gorbachev resigned and the Soviet Union ceased to exist at the end of the same year.

US President Bill Clinton was initially reluctant to accept new member states into NATO. It would have put up a new wall in Europe just after the previous one had come down. The doors of the Sangh remained closed.

The Clinton administration invented the NATO Partnership for Peace program. This was an intentionally gray zone where states were committed to co-operation without membership. Ukraine joined it in 1994.

At the same time, Russia’s development took a bad turn with the unpredictable policy of Boris Yeltsin. Fortunately, however, Yeltsin agreed to withdraw Russian troops from East Germany in 1994. At the same time, Ukraine decided to give up nuclear weapons left on its territory as a legacy of the Soviet Union – and made itself less strategically important in the process. , Clinton saw that the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland, who were knocking on NATO’s door, had already waited too long.

Clinton changed her mind. Sarott said that was when a pattern was created for the expansion of NATO as history now knows it.

Ukraine was left out of the picture.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (left) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky meet in Kiev on April 20.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (left) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky meet in Kiev on April 20. Photo: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Lahatkuva

Following the Russian attack, President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly called for Ukraine’s admission to NATO. The gate is already open. Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in April that Ukraine “deserves” membership.

Ukraine joining NATO is a good idea, but the timing is bad.

Three options are presented. The first is to invite Ukraine as a full member. It will not succeed as long as Russia is waging a war of aggression on Ukrainian soil.

Another option is to continue with the current status quo – Ukraine receives support from NATO member states but is not covered by security guarantees. The solution is not sustainable. Strengthened by military aid, Ukraine may be able to free its territory from occupation. Nevertheless, Russia will remain a constant threat behind the border.

The third option is for individual states to provide security guarantees to Ukraine. He too has his difficulties.


Ukraine joining NATO is a good idea, but the timing is bad.

Stoltenberg presented a multi-year transformation program to Ukraine. Its purpose would be to help Ukraine rid itself of Soviet-era military standards, doctrines and equipment. The door to NATO will open when the war is over and the transformation program is well advanced.

At the same time, Ukraine must completely rid itself of another toxic legacy of the socialist era: a deeply rooted culture of corruption.

Ukraine is an integral part of the new security architecture of Europe. The Vilnius Spire may already provide additional information on what kind of bricks it will be built from.

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