Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Former Secretary General of NATO, has put forward a proposal for Ukraine to join the alliance, but that Article 5 of the Washington Treaty should not apply to the territories occupied by Russia, reported Ukrainska Pravda.
Source: The Guardian, citing Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Former Secretary General of NATO, as reported by European Pravda.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who served as the secretary general of NATO from 2009 to 2014, insists that the plan for Ukraine’s partial membership does not symbolise the freezing of the conflict but, instead, signifies the determination to prevent Russia from obstructing Ukraine’s entry into the Alliance. Rasmussen stated that the issue of Ukraine’s NATO membership cannot be postponed any longer.
“The time has come to take the next step and extend an invitation for Ukraine to join NATO. We need a new European security architecture in which Ukraine is in the heart of NATO,” he said.
Supporters of Ukraine’s NATO membership are cautious because the extension of Article 5 of the Alliance’s Collective Defence Treaty to the entire Ukrainian territory would require NATO member countries to defend a country at war actively. Rasmussen argues that excluding the territories held by Russia from the treaty’s coverage would reduce the risk of conflict between Russia and NATO.
Rasmussen denies that this step would freeze the conflict by surrendering Ukrainian territory to Russia. “The absolute credibility of Article 5 guarantees would deter Russia from mounting attacks inside the Ukrainian territory inside Nato and so free up Ukrainian forces to go to the frontline,” he said.
“To make Article 5 credible there would have to be a clear message to Russia that any violation of NATO territory would be met by a response,” Rasmussen emphasised. He stated that in a sense, this proposal is similar to establishing a no-fly zone for Russia, preventing it from flying over Ukrainian territory or launching missiles into Ukrainian cities.
Rasmussen noted a somewhat imprecise precedent in history: when West Germany joined the Alliance in 1955, Article 5 applied only to its territory, not East Germany. He listed three main reasons why Ukraine should be offered membership. Firstly, Ukraine in NATO would act as a bulwark against still-aggressive Russia. Secondly, he said, it should be realised that grey zones are danger zones, and neutrality in the old sense no longer exists.
Finally, he argues that the Ukrainian army is currently the most battle-hardened army in Europe and could become an asset and an example for other European states.
The former Secretary General of the North Atlantic Alliance believes that it is time for NATO to send Ukraine an invitation to join, and this should happen at its next summit in Washington.