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US and key allies debating what commitment to give on Ukraine joining NATO at upcoming summit | CNN Politics

🌈 Abstract

The article discusses the ongoing debate within the United States and its key allies, including the United Kingdom, regarding the commitment to Ukraine's NATO membership at the upcoming 75th anniversary summit of the alliance in Washington. The article highlights the differing positions among the allies, with the US proposing a "bridge" to NATO membership for Ukraine, while some European countries, particularly those closer to Russia's border, favor a more "irreversible path" to membership.

🙋 Q&A

[01] The Debate over Ukraine's NATO Membership

1. What are the key positions of the US and its allies on Ukraine's NATO membership?

  • The US and Germany have proposed that the alliance pledge a "bridge" to NATO membership for Ukraine, rather than an "irreversible path" as favored by the UK and several Eastern and Central European nations.
  • Some NATO members are reluctant to use the word "irreversible" because Ukraine has yet to implement all the necessary democratic and anti-corruption reforms for membership.
  • Central European countries are disappointed with the Biden administration's "ambiguity and procrastination" on outlining a concrete pathway for Ukraine's membership.
  • European allies have been directly lobbying the White House to make Ukraine's pathway to NATO membership as clear as possible, with some advocating for "fast tracking" Ukraine's membership.

2. What is the current position of NATO on Ukraine's membership?

  • At the 2022 NATO summit in Vilnius, the allies declared that "Ukraine's future is in NATO" but did not offer a timeline for membership.
  • In April 2023, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that the current work "puts you on an irreversible path towards NATO membership."
  • The Biden administration has signed a ten-year defense pact with Ukraine, which it calls "a bridge to Ukraine's eventual membership in the NATO Alliance."

3. How has Russia responded to the discussions around Ukraine's NATO membership?

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated that peace talks with Ukraine would only begin if Kyiv officially gives up on its NATO aspirations.

[02] The Debate over Weapons Provision and Use

1. How has the US been criticized for its approach to providing weapons to Ukraine?

  • Ukraine has been both grateful and frustrated as it watched the US offer bigger and bigger weapons packages, but at a slower pace than it has needed.
  • NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has indirectly criticized the Biden administration for not allowing Ukraine to use US weapons to fire into Russia, which Ukrainians have said amounts to them fighting with one hand tied behind their back.
  • The Biden administration has recently announced that Ukraine can fire into Russia, but only in a limited way: at military targets across the border from the city of Kharkiv and not with the most formidable US weapons, the long-range ATACMS missile.

2. How has the UK's approach differed from the US on providing weapons to Ukraine?

  • The UK has often been much more forward-leaning than Washington on weaponry for Ukraine and how it's used.
  • Generally, throughout the conflict, British officials, the closest US allies in NATO, have consistently hoped the White House would take a more aggressive stance.
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