Giving up some territory in exchange for immediate accession to NATO: The media told about a scenario for Ukraine that is being discussed in the West

Ukraine's Path to NATO
Ukraine's Path to NATO

NATO is discussing the option of territorial concessions by Ukraine in exchange for security guarantees and immediate admission of Ukraine to the Alliance. This possibility has been brought up periodically in all unofficial conversations, including over the past few days.

This was reported by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica. The newspaper believes that such discussions are the driving force behind accelerating assistance to Kyiv.

According to the article, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has once again returned to the idea that Ukraine will sooner or later become a member of the Alliance. The day before, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke about this prospect. According to La Repubblica, there are two reasons for this.

The first is that many experts see such an "exchange" as one of the possible solutions to end the war. Currently, this is not a politically assessed option. But de facto, it exists.

The second reason is more specific. In particular, many European administrations and the White House itself are concerned that this could become Donald Trump's trump card if he wins the US presidential election in November 2024.

The former US president has repeatedly promised that if he returns to the position of "commander-in-chief," he will instantly resolve the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. And this would be exactly the step that would help him to take on the role of a "peacemaker king."

The plan would be to leave the territories of Crimea, Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson captured by Russia, and then to strengthen the "new" borders.

The government-controlled part of Ukraine, in turn, would join NATO. Journalists write that this is a path that is very similar to the fate of West Germany after World War II.

The German people were then "split in two," effectively ceding control of the eastern part of the USSR while incorporating the western part into NATO in 1955.

In the summer of 2023, at the NATO Summit in Vilnius, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy requested immediate accession to the Alliance in the hope of immediately securing the borders and thus providing a military response to the Russian invasion.

Then, despite reassurance about the future, more or less all partners – starting with the United States – opposed this request to avoid a direct war with Russia, the article says.

Now, the scenario may change, especially if Trump returns to power in the United States, La Repubblica believes.

However, this is why the need to accelerate assistance to Ukraine is growing. In particular, the NATO Secretary General emphasized the need to make military support permanent and not tied to the aleatory nature of the policy in this regard. Not least because, if this decision is indeed made, Ukraine must retain as much of its territory as possible by early 2025.

To do so, the Ukrainian army must be provided with weapons, ammunition, and possibly even men. The "Trump hypothesis" is causing some alarm in Europe, as it would still be a capitulation to Russian superiority, La Repubblica writes.

The Russian counteroffensive has already begun. The terrorist attack in Crocus City Hall, for which ISIS claimed responsibility, is becoming "a giant justification for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin to intensify bombing, even of civilian targets and civilians," the article says.

In the Kremlin, it is realized that 2025 will be the year when a ceasefire can be called. But 2024 is still a year of battle. The mobilization of 300,000 additional soldiers by order of the Kremlin and the law signed by Zelenskyy lowering the conscription age to 25 years old indicate that the coming months will be months of truth, the newspaper writes.

The border between Russia and Ukraine is very long and needs people to guard it. The fear that Putin's army will break through is now "a constant shiver running down the backs of all European leaders."

Moreover, the US elections are becoming a kind of "freeze" on many global decisions. Putin is not interested in negotiating a truce or any other option with Biden right now. He will do so with a new or confirmed White House chief of staff.

Until then, he needs to strengthen his starting position. That is, "to win pieces of Ukraine," journalists write.

Kyiv and its allies need to do the exact opposite. Knowing that spring is the season of the most brutal war on the ground. And that only next year will another scenario open up. In which the ammunition will be mainly conquered or defended territories.

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