“Promoting” NATO membership by the United States would be a great foreign policy success for Ukraine. But it is difficult to understand where the author of the story found signs of such a US decision. At a press conference in Kiev, Defense Secretary Austin confined himself to rather general wording. Austin walked away from answering a direct question from Ukraine TV channel correspondent Irina Lukhina about the prospects for her country’s joining NATO and when an action plan for accession can be expected, stating:
“With regard to the first question, I would like to note that no third country has the right to veto decisions on NATO membership. Ukraine, as you heard my words earlier, has the right to independently determine its future foreign policy, and we expect that they will be able to do this without any outside interference. Finally, I would like to say that our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty is unshakable and we will continue to work with our partners to ensure that the necessary conditions are in place for Ukraine to defend itself. ”
The plot with Ukraine joining the alliance with a clause that removes it from the scope of Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, according to which an attack on one of the NATO countries is considered an attack on all countries at once, – in its pure form, the fantasy of an “expert”, a citizen of the DPR and Russia Vladimir Kornilov, the former editor-in-chief of the Kiev-based Russian-language newspaper Segodnya, who now calls himself a political scientist. In fact, Kurt Volcker in May 2020 made a slightly different proposal: if Ukraine joins NATO, do not immediately apply Article 5 to the occupied territories. During the online discussion of the Kiev Security Forum, Volker stated:
“We will not be the first to use force on their [отторгнутых территорий] return, we support only their peaceful reintegration into the territorial integrity of the states claiming these territories and the restoration of the integrity of the countries applying for NATO membership. This should deprive Russia of incentives to continue its occupation of these territories. “
According to the current rules, unresolved territorial disputes are an absolute obstacle to joining NATO. In the 1995 document “Study on NATO Enlargement”, published on the official website of the alliance, said:
“States having ethnic disputes or external territorial disputes, including irredentist claims, or internal disputes over jurisdiction, should resolve these disputes by peaceful means in accordance with OSCE principles. The resolution of such disputes will be one of the factors in determining whether to invite a state to join the Alliance. ”
On the website of the US Department of State in 1997, the “Minimum Requirements for NATO Membership” were published – five criteria, one of which formulated So:
“New members must be good neighbors and respect sovereignty beyond their borders.”
Thus, without the settlement of territorial disputes and the establishment of good-neighborly relations with Russia, Ukraine’s entry into NATO is impossible. Volcker, on the other hand, spoke, in essence, of an exception for Ukraine: to give it the opportunity to join the alliance, but not leave it completely without the protection of its allies – no one would agree to such an absurd proposal, but just not to apply Article 5 to the consequences of an attack prior to NATO membership. This would protect Ukraine from possible future attacks. Volcker’s initiative was not continued. It is impossible to understand where the Vremya program found signs of support for this idea by the current American administration. Austin only pledged to help Ukraine carry out comprehensive reforms that will move it along the path of Euro-Atlantic aspirations.
Most likely, Austin’s words about Russia at a press conference in Kiev caused a violent reaction on the Vremya program:
“We reiterate our call on Russia to end its occupation of Crimea, the continuation of the war in eastern Ukraine, destabilizing activities in the Black Sea and along Ukraine’s borders, and constant cyberattacks and other harmful activities against the United States, our allies and partners. <…>
We have long understood the importance of cooperation and unity between allies and partners in deterring Russian aggression. <…>
Let’s be clear, Russia started this war and Russia is an obstacle to a peaceful settlement. It could start by respecting Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, while we will continue to do everything we can to support Ukraine’s efforts to develop the capacity for self-defense and defend its sovereign territory. ”
But it is completely incomprehensible why the Vremya correspondent was so outraged by Austin’s obvious and banal remark that no third party can have the right to veto when deciding on the accession of any state to NATO.