Defence ministers will meet today at NATO’s Brussels headquarters, with the involvement of non-NATO state Ukraine likely to be on the agenda.
For the first time in NATO’s 70-year history, a unit from a non-member state has been certified as a Special Operations unit. Ukraine’s 140th Special Operations Forces Centre now has the right to be involved in the NATO Response Force—the alliance’s high readiness response units.
Coupled with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s pledge to keep Ukraine on a “strategic course” for NATO membership, this development has led to increased speculation of Ukrainian accession.
However, it is unlikely the alliance will approve Ukraine’s entry into NATO if member states continue to fear that accession will drag the alliance into a conflict with Russia. NATO’s Article Five security guarantee provides that an attack on one member state is to be considered an attack on all.
Because of this concern, it is more likely that the alliance will continue to distance itself from Ukraine—promoting as much security cooperation with the country as possible without formally accepting it into its fold. Expect defence ministers today to forward proposals of ways NATO can further integrate Ukrainian military forces into the apparatuses of the alliance without offering the country formal membership—such as plans for new training programs and increasing the number joint military exercises.
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Nick is the Director of the Daily Brief and a contributing Senior Analyst to it. An attorney, his areas of expertise include international law, international and domestic criminal law, security affairs in Europe and the Middle East, and human rights.