The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has not been willing to let Ukraine and Georgia become members due to their extremely confrontational relations with Russia, explained former NATO Vice Secretary General Alexander Vershbow in an interview with the publication Segodnya.
The alliance has repeatedly emphasized that the countries in question could theoretically become members, he noted. However, it would be problematic in practice, because the matter is political and related to security.
“You see, when NATO invites new members, it must have a response to the question: ‘Do you have a strategy to defend these countries?’. Could you apply article 5 of the NATO Charter on collective defense, if Georgia or Ukraine were attacked? I believe there are solutions, but right now NATO is not at a stage to discuss them,” he added.
Vershbow said that, at present, due to Ukraine’s and Georgia’s relations with Russia, most NATO member states would prefer to “postpone the problem”.
In addition, Ukraine is not yet ready to become a member, because it does not meet the alliance’s standards.
“You still need to conduct reforms at home which, just like reforms in the defense sector, are necessary conditions for joining NATO,” he added.
However, Vershbow believes that Ukraine will be ready for this sooner than the alliance, and so solutions to the issue should be sought now.
Recently Anatoliy Hrytsenko, leader of Ukraine’s “Civil Position” party, remarked that if the only condition for joining NATO was the condition of the army, then Ukraine could have become a member 15 years ago.