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Prospects for Ukraine's Invitation to NATO

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A NATO summit will take place in Vilnius on 11-12 July. The world is eagerly awaiting how the issue of Ukraine's invitation to the Alliance will be resolved, Dispatches, IFBG.

It should be noted that granting Ukraine an invitation would be a very good strategic decision for the Alliance and the whole collective West. Ukraine - having received security guarantees and official support - will become a serious geopolitical and economic player, and consequently NATO and the West will have a reliable partner who shares their values.

An invitation to join NATO would greatly accelerate Ukraine's reform process in various areas, especially defence and security. Given that more than 82 percent of Ukrainians support NATO membership, such a move would also strengthen democracy in the country, further consolidate the population's ambitions, and boost the implementation of Western values.

Interestingly, Ukrainians are not alone in welcoming Ukraine into NATO. A very large percentage of citizens of the Alliance member states are in favour of such an enlargement. Apart from the fact that 21 member states of the bloc support the procedure for Ukraine's immediate admission, residents also share the opinion of politicians. According to the results of sociological research, conducted by the centre "New Europe", the percentage ratio of respondents, who support Ukraine's participation in NATO already at the Vilnius summit is as follows: Americans - 70%, French - 56%, Dutch - 55%, Italians - 53%, Germans - 50%. As can be seen, more than half of the respondents were in favour, while there were very few sharply negative answers.

Since NATO espouses democratic values, member states are obliged to consider the wishes of their own citizens.

Although sceptics view Ukraine as a long-term recipient of financial assistance, with the end of the war comes a period of reconstruction. This period will be economically interesting for the West, because over the last year alone numerous talks have been held with foreign investors. They are ready to work. But most of them want security guarantees. It is an invitation to NATO that would serve as the least costly and most profitable demonstration of the best guarantees for these investors.

Among other things, an invitation to Ukraine to join NATO with subsequent full membership would demonstrate to most Ukrainian refugees that it is possible to return home safely. Many of those who have fled the country are simply afraid to return and take their children back home, where cynical shelling of peaceful cities takes place almost every day. Already at the Vilnius summit, Alliance members will be able to demonstrate to the world their support for the Ukrainian people and give them a long-awaited opportunity to plan their future.

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To the contrary, if the invitation to Ukraine is not extended, Russia will get a strong signal that its bloody policy of invasion will not be punished and that it can restrain NATO's expansion. The Kremlin will, as before, see Ukraine as a bargaining chip. In turn, the Alliance will discredit itself not only in the eyes of the Ukrainian people, but also among its own citizens, who wholeheartedly support NATO's expansion.

Ukraine's NATO membership would play a key role in strengthening Europe's security architecture. The long-term peace and security of the European continent depends on Ukraine providing guarantees. Given that the Ukrainian army is by far the largest, most combat-ready army in Europe, NATO would be prudent to seize the chance to strengthen its position. After all, the Russian army has not been able to defeat the Ukrainian Armed Forces for more than a year. The synergy of the UAF with NATO forces would create a force that could keep Russia in its place, and ensure sustainable and long-lasting peace.

By providing Ukraine with security guarantees and its support, NATO will negate all of Russia's imperialist ideas and demonstrate the impossibility of a second attack. Ukraine has shown determination and fearlessness over the last year and a half. It is time for the free world to put aside its fears and present a united front in support of Ukraine.

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