Nato must admit Ukraine as a member as soon as Vladimir Putin's war is over – Scotsman comment
When Vladimir Putin seeks to justify his war of aggression against Ukraine, he usually claims his regime’s actions were defensive and a response to the eastward “expansion” of Nato. In reality, former Soviet bloc countries fled westward to shelter under the Nato umbrella for fear that Russia would seek to rebuild its empire. Putin, a power-hungry, bloodthirsty tyrant, proved them right.
With Finland now a Nato member and Sweden set to join, Volodymyr Zelensky is anxious that Ukraine will follow. There is a recognition in Kyiv that full membership will have to wait until after the fighting, but also a desire for what Zelensky called a “timeframe” to be set. Clearly frustrated, he said it was “absurd” this had not been done.
Yesterday at a summit in Lithuania, Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced the creation of a new Nato-Ukraine council and said the process for Ukraine to join had been simplified so that there was now “a clear path towards its membership”. Nato is going as far as it dares.
US President Joe Biden, among others, has warned that if Ukraine were to join now, Nato would find itself at war with Russia. Furthermore, setting a date for membership might encourage Putin to try to extend the war beyond it, rather than make peace.
However, the Russian dictator has lost all rights for his wishes to be taken into account. Before last year’s full-scale invasion, the West tried to placate him and ended up convincing him it was weak.
As it gains allies, Nato should now project strength. And whatever Putin says, Ukraine must become a member when the war is over for the sake of its security and the world’s. This new expansion of Nato, its capabilities and territory, is all because of Putin’s actions, so any Russians who regard their leader as a master strategist should reconsider that assessment.
By standing up to Putin and standing by Ukraine, Nato is doing what is right and sending a clear message to others, particularly Putin’s great friend, Xi Jinping in China, that the democratic world will stand together and, if necessary, fight for its freedom.
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