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5th Feb 2023

Nato renews membership vow to Ukraine

  • 'Russia does not have a veto,' Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said, regarding the alliance's future membership (Photo: Magnus Fröderberg/norden.org)
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Nato allies on Tuesday (29 November) reaffirmed their commitment to Ukraine that one day the country could become a member of the military alliance.

"Nato's door is open," the alliance's secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said ahead of a two-day meeting of the Nato's foreign ministers in Bucharest.

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"Russia does not have a veto," the former Norwegian prime minister said, adding: "and now Putin invaded Ukraine saying that he wants less Nato at his borders. He is getting the opposite", referring to Finland and Sweden as that decision awaits the finalisation of ratification processes in Turkey and Hungary.

The pledges reaffirmed in the Romanian capital were originally made in 2008 in Bucharest when the alliance agreed that Ukraine, and also Georgia, could join the alliance one day.

Some analysts suggested that this move for a "membership action plan" in 2008 prompted Putin to be more belligerent. However, others argued that Russia's leadership had not respected these countries' sovereignty even before.

On Tuesday, Nato allies also pledged more support for Ukraine as it heads into the winter.

Stoltenberg said the alliance will back the country "as long as it takes", arguing that a Russian win would make the world more dangerous and vulnerable, so it is in the interest of Nato allies to support Ukraine.

Ukraine foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba on Tuesday asked for air defence systems and generators as Russia has been pounding Ukraine's vital energy infrastructure.

"Putin is weaponising winter," Stoltenberg commented.

"If we have transformers and generators, we can restore our energy needs. If we have air defence systems, we can protect from the next Russian missile strikes. In a nutshell: Patriots and transformers is what Ukraine needs the most," Kuleba said.

Blinken is expected to announce substantial US aid for Ukraine's energy grid.

Slovakia said that it was sending Ukraine 30 armoured personnel carriers and more artillery, AP news reported.

Estonia's foreign minister, Urmas Reinsalu, called on Nato members to pledge one percent of their GDP to Ukraine in military support, saying it would make a "strategic difference".

His country, bordering Russia, planned to raise national defence spending to three percent of GDP.

Italy is also expected to have its new far-right the government continue sending weapons to Ukraine throughout 2023, Reuters reported.

Despite the Nato pledge, Ukraine will not join the alliance anytime soon.

Waiting ratification

Meanwhile, Hungary's prime minister Viktor Orbán tweeted that he does not link the ratification of Nato membership of Finland and Sweden to an EU process which is likely to suspend subsidies to his government.

Nevertheless, last week Orbán said the Hungarian parliament would only ratify the new members in January.

Orbán's ruling party holds a two-thirds majority in the Budapest parliament, raising questions about the delay when his government has said it supports the two new members.

Hungary is the only EU country that has not yet ratified their accession to the military alliance.

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