Ex-NATO Chief Suggests Ukraine Joins Alliance Minus Lost Territories

    Photo: Andriy Zhyhaylo/Obozrevatel/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images News via Getty Images (Sept. 28, 2023)

    The Facts

    • Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who served as NATO's secretary general from 2009 to 2014, has suggested that Ukraine should be invited to join the military alliance minus lost territories from the conflict with Russia to reduce the threat of a Russia-NATO conflict.

    • Rasmussen argued that Ukraine's partial NATO membership within its de facto borders would "deter Russia from mounting attacks inside the Ukrainian territory inside NATO and so free up Ukrainian forces to go to the frontline."

    The Spin

    Pro-establishment narrative

    The time has come to offer security guarantees against a still-aggressive Russia to Ukraine by bringing it inside NATO. The military alliance must lay out a rational path to admit Ukraine as Kyiv suffers through a horrific war that has seen multiple crimes against humanity. Ukraine's ultimate NATO membership — which could be accomplished through creative diplomatic means — would send an important message that the international community isn't afraid of Russia.

    Pro-Russia narrative

    Moving quickly on inviting Ukraine to join NATO to push the Kremlin into a corner will, contrary to conventional Western wisdom, escalate the conflict. NATO's eastward expansion is a threat to Russia's national security, which is why any attempt to include Ukraine in the US-led military alliance, even minus territories won by Russia, would be akin to crossing the red line.

    Pro-Ukraine narrative

    NATO must continue its full-court press to support Ukraine's existential fight against Russia which includes repelling all Russian forces from its sovereign territory. The Kremlin has proven that it can sow chaos on NATO's European doorstep, in the Middle East, and in Africa. Atlantic Alliance members must give the full weight of their support to Ukraine's war efforts, which include reclaiming all occupied Ukranian territory.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 0.1% chance that Ukraine will join NATO before 2024, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



    More neutral establishment stance articles

    Sign up to our daily newsletter