Nato summit in Vilnius: open the door to Ukraine?

In the run-up to the Nato summit taking place on July 11 and 12 in Vilnius, the focus is on the question of how the Alliance can and should strengthen its security guarantees vis-à-vis Kyiv. Supported by a number of states, Ukraine is demanding that the alliance commit to making it a member once the war ends. Europe’s press also calls for swift action, but not all commentators advocate an accelerated accession process.

Eesti Päevaleht (EE) /

Accession the only viable security guarantee

Eesti Päevaleht is cautiously optimistic:

“Ukraine’s application for membership is clearly the most difficult issue. The goal is a concrete accession agenda, or in other words an answer to the question of how and under what conditions Ukraine can become a member of the Alliance. ... Ukraine will not be left empty-handed. Together, the member states are taking a number of practical steps to help Ukraine and also to strengthen its security. Estonia’s representatives at the summit, in particular Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, have been repeating for months that the only viable security guarantee is Nato.”

Herman Kelomees
Ukrajinska Prawda (UA) /

Careful with the conditions

Ukrainska Pravda calls in a joint editorial for swift Nato accession for Ukraine:

“The White House began repeating last year that it would help Ukraine ‘as long as it takes’. ... However, it turned out that the word ‘long’ in this phrase also stands for ‘slow’. ... It would be a huge mistake to think that Ukraine’s invitation to NATO can be postponed to the future as safely as the US delayed arms supplies. ... By stipulating certain security conditions for Ukraine’s invitation, the Alliance will signal to Russia that it must maintain a threat level higher than those conditions.”

The Times (GB) /

Time to get a move on

Certain time factors could put Nato under extra pressure to invite Ukraine to join the alliance, The Times hopes:

“Nato has a maximum of one year to do so. Not only because it plans to celebrate its 75th birthday with due pomp in 2024, but also because next year’s summit in Washington could be Joe Biden’s last hurrah before Donald Trump possibly returns to the White House. Should that happen, Ukraine will no longer be able to rely on the currently still large Western military aid. ... So the Vilnius summit must go beyond mere self-congratulation and gather steam on accelerating Ukraine’s accession to Nato.”

Roger Boyes
Der Tagesspiegel (DE) /

Not as united as they would like to be

Der Tagesspiegel is not expecting the summit to be very harmonious:

“Turkey has been blocking Sweden’s accession for months under pretexts that have nothing to do with Nato. ... The alliance is also at odds over what it wants to offer Ukraine. It agrees that the country needs security guarantees. But it does not agree that it should receive an invitation to join. ... Whatever is ultimately decided as the lowest common denominator: the powerful signal of unity sent by the prompt agreement [to extend the mandate of Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg by another year] will probably be followed by the impression that Nato is not quite as united as it would like to be in view of the war in Europe.”

Christoph von Marschall
Verslo žinios (LT) /

Ukraine would be a real asset

Verslo žinios appeals to the those who are sceptical about Ukraine joining the alliance:

“Some Western countries are reluctant to accept its membership after the war, apparently without having properly assessed the threat posed by Putin and Russia. ... Ukraine is not waiting for fine speeches, nor for vague promises, nor for if-then considerations that lead nowhere, but for substantive decisions. With a realistic timetable for accession, Nato would demonstrate true unity and strength. ... And the alliance would gain a brave, battle-hardened army equipped with modern Western technology. Nato’s 33rd member would become a reliable pillar against the predatory ambitions of its eastern neighbour.”