Apparently unfazed by NATO’s decision to suspend talks on the deployment of missile defense systems in Ukraine, President Petro Poroshenko is all set to hold a referendum on his country’s membership of the Alliance. In an interview with Sputnik, political analyst Andrei Kortunov doubted that Ukraine would join NATO any time soon.
“It makes no sense talking about Ukraine in NATO now that NATO leadership insists that Kiev should must go ahead with reforms, modernization, develops state institutions and only then applyies for membership,” Kortunov said.
He added that even if the majority of Ukrainians voted for NATO membership, this would have little effect because the Alliance has no desire to take responsibility for Ukraine.
“NATO has a geopolitical interest in bringing aboard countries that would enhance its security and defense potential. Besides, new members should not create additional problems for the present members. Ukraine meets neither of these conditions,” Kortunov noted.
He added that if Brussels eventually agrees to let Ukraine in, it can do this without committing itself to defending the country.
“No one is going to fight for Ukraine, that’s why NATO can work with it, it can give it promises, but will never take it in,” Kortunov concluded.
The NATO leadership has postponed indefinitely talks with Ukrainian officials about the use of a missile defense system in Europe, The the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources in the Alliance’s headquarters in Brussels.
The talks were to deal with incidents that can happen when using a missile defense system in Eastern Europe, such as an interceptor missile’s of its debris falling on Ukrainian territory.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that NATO was putting off planned discussions with Ukraine on the missile defense system because of the “political sensitivity” and possible “overreaction by the Russians,” citing a NATO diplomat.
“No talks with any country were canceled. We will continue to exchange information, consult with each other and cooperate with our neighbors and partners as needed, step by step,” the source said, adding that NATO’s goal was to be as transparent as possible in the issue of missile defense, “especially while we are increasing our defenses.”
Fully aware of US President Donald Trump’s stated desire to mend fences with Russia, the NATO leadership appears carefulappears careful not to provoke Moscow.
During his election campaign, Trump described NATO as an important but obsolete organization that needs to be reformed.
Many in the US military believe that President Trump could back off from the planned deployment of a European missile shield as part of a possible deal with Moscow.
“I don’t think Ukraine could join NATO any time soon. To be accepted a country must have no internal conflicts, no territorial disputes with its neighbors and must have armed forces fully compatible with NATO standards. Ukraine meets none of these requirements and no matter how many referendums they hold they will not be accepted,” Bogdan Bezpalko, deputy director of the Moscow State University’s Center of Ukrainian and Belarusian Studies, told Sputnik.
Meanwhile, in an interview with the Berliner Morgenpost, President Poroshenko reiterated his desire to hold a referendum on Ukraine’s membership of NATO. He said that 54 percent of Ukrainians wanted this compared to just 16 percent four years ago.
In December 2014, the Ukrainian parliament voted to drop the country’s non-aligned status and work towards NATO membership. Under Ukraine’s new military doctrine, its armed forces are to become compatible with NATO’s before 2020.