Why didn’t Ukraine receive a formal invitation to join NATO?

British media headlines are asking why Ukraine was not extended a formal invitation to join NATO at the Vilnius Summit. 

NATO Summit, Vilnius, 12 July 2023.

NATO Summit, Vilnius, 12 July 2023. PAP/EPA/VALDA KALNINç

The main focus of British headlines regarding NATO was on the emotional side of the Vilnius Summit – Zelensky’s visible disappointment and British and American responses that Ukraine should be more „grateful”. 

Ben Wallace, the UK defence secretary sounded almost hurt saying that „people want a bit of gratitude”. And he added a headline grabbing refusal to Ukraine’s request for more arms, „I’m not Amazon.”

However, the more strategic explanation for NATO reticence offered is that if Ukraine joins now or during the war, NATO will formally be at war with Russia: Ukraine joining NATO means NATO joining the war.

This is precisely the argument offered by the Spectator’s editorial reviewing the Vilnius Summit.

Sources: The Guardian, The Spectator


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