At the same time, at the NATO summit in June, the heads of the member states and governments will discuss the security of Ukraine and, in this context, the security of the whole of Central Europe.
But the two leaders did not discuss what a “road map” would be in the case of Ukraine, whose president called for an action plan (MAP) for Ukraine to join the Alliance in early April to prevent military aggression from Russia.
Speaking at the NATO summit in Warsaw on May 3 and a possible “road map” for Ukraine, Polish President Andrzej Duda did not mention Georgia, which, like Ukraine, has been waiting in vain for clear membership since the 2008 Bucharest NATO summit.
A good but vague signal
In early April, when Russia mobilized a large military force along Ukraine’s border and also in annexed Crimea, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he considered NATO “the only way to end the ongoing war in the Donbas.” Neither Zelensky nor his predecessor Petro Poroshenko had raised the issue so sharply before.
“Mr. Stoltenberg, we are committed to our military and defense reforms, but we will not be able to stop Russia with reforms alone. NATO is the only way to end the war in Donbas. “A real signal for Russia will be to give Ukraine a MAP (Alliance Membership Action Plan).” – Volodymyr Zelensky sent such a message to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg via Twitter.
Later, the President of Ukraine called on the Secretary General of NATO, as well as the leaders of France and Germany to consider the issue of the Membership Action Plan (MAP).
But neither the leaders of Germany nor France, nor NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, have responded to the Ukrainian president’s appeal, indicating that the issue of NATO enlargement is not on the agenda of the next Alliance summit.
“The sad truth is that the NATO summit on June 14 will not be an enlargement summit in any way. Neither Georgia nor Ukraine will be able to get MAP there. It looks like first, the one-day summit will focus on rebuilding the transatlantic link damaged by the previous administration in Washington between the U.S. and its European allies. “On the other hand, the summit will try to look ahead and see how the alliance, part of which is now focused on China, can be further strengthened.”, – says Richard Jozwiak, Head of the European Bureau of Radio Liberty.
So far, the only NATO ally is Polish President Andrzej Duda, who promised Zelenski that the “roadmap” for Ukraine’s membership in the alliance will be discussed at the NATO summit in June, in the context of security in Ukraine and Eastern Europe in general.
“The ‘roadmap’ for joining the North Atlantic Alliance is a fundamental issue for which Ukraine is working. And we and our friends in this part of Europe support this aspiration of Ukraine. “, – said Andrzej Duda on Monday, during a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
But the President of Poland did not mention the Membership Action Plan (MAP), which is the final and necessary tool for the candidate country to join the Alliance. This is exactly what the President of Ukraine demanded in his address to the Secretary General of NATO.
Therefore, the words of the Polish President in support of Ukraine’s aspirations for NATO have caused confusion instead of clarity in some Ukrainian experts.
“In fact, the word ‘road map’ worries me, to say the least. This means that neither Georgia nor Ukraine will adopt the Accession Action Plan (MAP). Maybe each for their own reason will not accept it, but at the NATO summit in June it will not happen in any case. This does not mean that our countries should not fight for Euro-Atlantic integration and should not carry out the necessary reforms. “– says Evhen Magda, director of the World Policy Institute in Kiev.
Why didn’t Duda mention Georgia?
Speaking at a NATO summit in Warsaw on May 3 and a possible “road map” for Ukraine, Polish President Andrzej Duda did not mention Georgia, which, like Ukraine, has been waiting for a clear “roadmap” to join the Alliance since the 2008 Bucharest NATO summit.
But in the context of the MAP, the mention of Georgia with Ukraine is explained by more protocol nuances by experts on NATO and EU issues, who unanimously state that Georgia is more advanced than Ukraine in terms of NATO integration.
“Georgia was not mentioned together with Ukraine in Warsaw because Duda was meeting his Ukrainian counterpart there. I would say that Georgia is the leader between the two, despite the political upheavals that have recently engulfed Tbilisi. “, – thinks Richard Jozwiak, Head of the European Bureau of Radio Liberty.
On April 15, the Presidents of Ukraine and Georgia, Volodymyr Zelensky and Salome Zurabishvili, agreed on coordinated action ahead of the NATO summit.
The views of the presidents of the two countries on the action plan for NATO membership completely coincided.
“I completely agree with Salome Zurabishvili that it is time for Ukraine and Georgia to receive concrete proposals on the plan to adopt the NATO MAP and join the European Union. Unification of efforts and solidarity is crucial today. “Ukraine and Georgia have a historical understanding and support for peace.” – wrote Volodymyr Zelensky
About the telephone conversation with Salome Zurabishvili on Twitter.
On the second day of the telephone conversation between the Presidents of Ukraine and Georgia, it became known that Tbilisi had returned the Ambassador of Georgia to Ukraine, Teimuraz Sharashenidze, who had been summoned for consultations in Georgia a year ago due to a decision made by Volodymyr Zelensky.
This happened in May 2020 after President Volodymyr Zelensky appointed the third President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Reform Council. Saakashvili’s appointment to the Ukrainian government was met with a sharply negative reaction from the Georgian authorities.
“The telephone conversation between Volodymyr Zelensky and Salome Zurabishvili and the return of the Georgian ambassador to Ukraine after a pause of almost a year is a sign that the two countries are essentially, as in 2008, ready for joint action.”– says Evhen Magda, director of the World Policy Institute in Kiev.
“It is another matter that the issue of the Membership Action Plan for Ukraine has been aggravated by the political crisis caused by the concentration of Russian military forces. Kiev has not had such an official position before. Georgia is more consistent in this regard, and as early as last spring, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said he had a better chance of joining NATO. In fact, we have about a month and a half left to see how the next round of action on the action plan will end, but I am quite pessimistic. “, – adds the Ukrainian analyst.
Separately or together?
In the words of Polish President Andrzej Duda, in the run-up to the June NATO summit, Poland and the Baltic states will continue to try to influence other allies to return to the Alliance’s agenda the issue of a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) for Georgia and Ukraine.
“But there is still a lot of resistance from many Western European countries. So, as in recent years, NATO’s doors will remain open, but neither Georgia nor Ukraine will be able to approach it. “, – notes Richard Jozwiak.
But everyone agrees that in early April, amid a dangerous concentration of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border, President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the issue of NATO membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in the wake of the aforementioned address to the NATO Secretary General. But you can not stop at just one appeal.
“This requires very serious preparation and work with both the US and European capitals, and perhaps first and foremost European capitals, because skepticism is heard primarily from this side and not from the US.”, – says Tengiz Pkhaladze, Associate Professor at the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA).
“One thing must be taken into account here. MAP is not a guarantor of protection by its technical composition. This is a political message. And in this case, President Zelensky’s position is that Russia’s actions, which are manifested in more and more aggression, should be given an appropriate political response, and this political response is a membership action plan. I can not say that the time for this is ideal. Not because either Ukraine or Georgia does not deserve a map. On the contrary, Georgia deserves and Georgia deserves an invitation, but I do not think there is a consensus in the Alliance today. Nor do I think that some countries, such as Germany, will make this decision in the light of the expected change of government that we expect in Germany in a few months. “– Pkhaladze notes.
Commenting on the views expressed on the NATO “road map” for Ukraine during the May 3 meeting between the Presidents of Poland and Ukraine, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba told RFE / RL that Ukraine’s membership in NATO is a long process and not a matter of today or tomorrow. “But we must have a clear idea of the schedule of this process. This is what is being discussed “, – said the Ukrainian Minister.
The issue of granting a membership action plan to a partner country is decided by consensus by the leaders of NATO member states. Ukraine and Georgia have been waiting for the adoption of the main “Roadmap” – the Accession Action Plan (MAP) since the 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest.
- During this time, Georgia and Ukraine became closer to the Euro-Atlantic area;
- There are NATO-Georgia and NATO-Ukraine commissions;
- The Alliance considers both countries as “Strategic Partners” – they have been granted the “Extended Opportunity Partner” (EOP) status.
- Unlike Ukraine, Georgia has an important instrument of preparation for membership, in the form of a “substantial package” adopted at the 2014 NATO Wales Summit.
But so far there is no answer to the main question of when these two advanced partner countries will join the ranks of the Alliance, which, for the 13th year, are waiting for the fulfillment of the promises.