The issue of Ukraine’s potential membership in the NATO military alliance has led to a divergence of opinions between France and Germany. While France is advocating for a concrete roadmap for Ukraine’s integration into NATO, Germany is urging caution due to the ongoing conflict with Russia.
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna expressed the desire to establish a clear path with progressive stages for Ukraine to join NATO under favorable security conditions. However, she acknowledged that there are still numerous points to be discussed and did not provide specific dates or a calendar for the process. Colonna emphasized the need to surpass the 2008 agreement that outlined Ukraine’s eventual membership.
In contrast, German politician Annalena Baerbock stressed that discussing new membership while a war is ongoing would not be appropriate. Germany is urging for a more cautious approach considering the current situation with Russia.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is grappling with the challenge of deepening ties with Ukraine without immediately granting full membership. This is due to concerns that invoking Article 5, which guarantees security assistance, could potentially draw allies into the ongoing conflict with Russia.
The foreign ministers are addressing the issue of Ukraine’s membership at a two-day meeting in Oslo preceding the NATO summit in July. The summit is expected to finalize a comprehensive long-term support package for Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called for clear signals of support for his country’s membership at the July summit. He emphasized the importance of security guarantees for Ukraine and neighboring Moldova, given the Russian aggression in the region.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent endorsement of a “path toward membership” for Ukraine within NATO was received positively by Baltic nations. These nations have been advocating for a more concrete roadmap for Ukraine’s integration. However, it remains unclear if the United States will provide a timeline for Ukraine’s membership or focus on strengthening the political relationship with Kyiv.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expressed confidence that a consensus will be reached on the way forward. He affirmed that all allies agree on Ukraine’s eventual membership.
As part of the Vilnius package, NATO allies are expected to elevate the formal status of the NATO-Ukraine relationship with a new NATO-Ukraine Council. This would enable Ukraine to participate directly in broader discussions about the alliance’s security. Additionally, a long-term fund totaling €500 million per year is anticipated to provide non-lethal aid and other forms of support to bolster Ukraine’s defenses and deter future aggression.
Ukraine has also requested bilateral security guarantees before becoming a full NATO member. Allies are considering a proposal known as the Kyiv Security Compact, which would involve binding commitments to provide military and non-military resources for Ukraine’s self-defense. Several countries are reflecting on what kind of security guarantees they can offer.
Ukraine is preparing for a much-anticipated counter-offensive, armed with substantial military support from European and US sources. The country may launch the counter-punch ahead of the July summit to demonstrate the need for continued military assistance from NATO allies.