Ukraine’s NATO membership is strategic win for Kyiv and Alliance, Brzezinski says

December 4,2023 684
Ukraine’s NATO membership is strategic win for Kyiv and Alliance, Brzezinski says

Ukraine’s path to NATO membership is part of a winning strategy for both Ukraine and the Alliance, says Ian Brzezinski, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy, Voice of America reports.

The only thing that Russian President Vladimir Putin “respects and understands” is the standards of NATO’s Article 5, which requires alliance members to defend their ally, Brzezinski said. Therefore, the NATO “umbrella” could extend to the territories controlled by the Ukrainian government even before the occupied part of Ukraine is completely liberated, the expert added.

At the NATO summit in Vilnius in July, the Alliance canceled the requirement for a Membership Action Plan (MAP) for Ukraine. “This will change Ukraine’s membership path from a two-step process to a one-step process,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at the time. Instead, Kyiv will have to fulfill the requirements of an adapted Annual National Program (ANP), a document that defines the criteria for Ukraine’s compliance with NATO membership.

The ANP is a tool for monitoring Ukraine’s reforms. On November 28, the Ukrainian Commission for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration approved the adapted ANP for 2024. The document consists of five sections of specific goals: strengthening democratic public control over the security and defense sector; working on interoperability of the Armed Forces of Ukraine with NATO; reforming the defense procurement system; preventing and combating corruption; law enforcement reform; economic security; digital transformation of the security and defense sector; development of the defense industry; planning and management of resources in the security and defense sector; development of the cybersecurity system, etc.

NATO agreed on the ANP but recommended that Kyiv include among the priority reforms in the adapted ANP the reform of public administration in line with democratic values, human rights, minorities, freedom of the press, and the rule of law, as well as the fight against corruption at all levels, including empowering independent anti-corruption bodies. Second, it will transform the command and control system per NATO standards. Third, improving the defense planning and management system, including by fighting corruption and implementing NATO standards, as well as reforming Ukraine’s defense industry and procurement procedures in the security and defense sector.

The next NATO summit will be held in July 2024 in Washington. “However, implementing reforms (as well as a positive assessment of our country’s progress by the military-political organization) does not guarantee Ukraine’s membership in NATO. Our accession to the Alliance also does not depend on whether Kyiv will receive a formal invitation at the Washington Summit. The decision to join is a political one. The Ukrainian capital understands this. But Ukraine needs both symbols and “ropes” that will firmly bind our country and NATO,” writes Volodymyr Kravchenko, an international policy columnist for the Ukrainian Dzerkalo Tyzhnia (Mirror of the Week) newspaper.