NATO summit: Leaders maintain talks with Indo-Pacific nations

July 11, 2024

NATO and Ukraine: ‘The stronger the signal these days, the better,” foreign relations expert tells DW

Gustav Gressel, a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), told DW that Russia’s summer offensive in Ukraine was still in full swing and that Ukraine’s military ranks were stretched thin.

“Ukraine has battled the Russian offensive quite well so far,” Gressel said. “By autumn, of course, the tide could stall, but Western assistance is good for the end of the year, or into the spring.”

There was a question of where things could stand in terms of future international assistance considering the US presidential elections in November. Likely Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has implied he might cut funding for Ukraine, and Republican Party lawmakers earlier this year held up a bill to provide aid to Ukraine for weeks

On the topic of a timeline for Ukraine joining NATO, or lack thereof, Gressel said being in a state of war made any timeline quite difficult to predict.

“A political invitation with a clause that if conditions are met would be, of course, a stronger signal, but, in practice, Ukraine knows that as long the war is ongoing in the current phase, NATO membership is pretty difficult to achieve,” Gressel said.

He added that Ukraine was determining its own path by not becoming a Russian satellite.

“Ukraine fights for its independence and Ukraine fights for its sovereignty. Ukraine had tried to choose a different path than a Russia satellite for decades,” Gressel said, adding that NATO membership was being seen as a long-term “security guarantee that they will not be ever again a Russian satellite.” 

Gressel said many Ukrainians were willing to die for such a guarantee: “They don’t die for any particular president or for a political party. They die for their kids growing up in a country that has chosen the path of independence.”

“Hence I think, the stronger the signal these days, the better,” Gressel said.

Why Russia’s offensive in Ukraine may have stalled

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