NATO's new envoy to Ukraine: Signal of support or consolation prize?


NATO plans to create a permanent envoy to Ukraine to expand its long-term commitment to Ukraine. This decision will be made at the summit in Washington, Foreign Policy reported on June 7, citing sources.

The position will formally be called NATO's Senior Civilian Representative to Ukraine, similar to the Alliance's envoy to Afghanistan. The representative will coordinate NATO's support for Ukraine, including the supply of military assistance from Western countries.

The new position will send a political signal to both Ukraine and Russia about NATO's support, Foreign Policy writes. However, some officials have acknowledged that a representative of the Alliance in Ukraine does not meet Kyiv's main goal of formally joining the Alliance.

Read also: Biden says peace in Ukraine doesn't necessarily mean NATO membership

"This is part of the consolation prize that we are all trying to create," said one NATO official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“It's another example of what we are doing instead of what Ukraine really wants us to do.”

The question of whether and when to invite Ukraine to join NATO and actually start the process of accepting it remains a hot topic among NATO officials, the article says.

NATO summit in Washington

The 75th NATO Leaders' Summit will take place on July 9-11, 2024 in Washington, DC. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in January that he hoped for two decisions at the summit: on the transfer of new air defense systems and on concrete steps towards Ukraine's membership in the Alliance.

A NATO summit was held in Vilnius on July 11-12, 2023. It was attended by the leaders of 31 Allies, delegations from Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Ukraine, and Sweden. President Zelenskyy attended that summit.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on July 11 that Ukraine would become a member of the Alliance without a MAP and would receive an invitation when the allies agree and "conditions are met."

Stoltenberg invited President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in April to the Alliance's summit in Washington. However, the NATO chief doubts that Ukraine will receive an invitation to join the organization.

The Telegraph, citing its own unnamed sources, reported on May 28 that Western partners urged Ukraine not to request an invitation to NATO at the annual summit in Washington this year. The newspaper writes that this decision "will  frustrate Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukraine’s president, who has been warned by counterparts not to demand the ‘impossible’ from the alliance."

Read also: NATO to offer Ukraine a 'bridge' to membership at Washington summit

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