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Olesya Yakhno: Ukraine Expects Three Steps From NATO

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Olesya Yakhno: Ukraine Expects Three Steps From NATO
OLESYA YAKHNO

A number of non-public decisions may be made at the Alliance summit.

On July 9, the 75th anniversary NATO summit opened in Washington, which will last until July 11.

Ukrainian political scientist and journalist Olesya Yakhno told the Charter97.org website what practical steps Ukraine expects from its allies:

— Three components are important for us at this summit. These are short-term decisions — what Ukraine needs right now, given the existing military risks. We see that Russia has recently stepped up missile attacks — a massive shelling of Ukraine was carried out right on the eve of the summit. This shows what the Kremlin's words about peace and the negotiation process are worth; all these statements are in the nature of an ultimatum and blackmail. Right now, Ukraine needs air defense systems, long-range missiles and aircraft.

The second area, which is no less important, is the medium-term prospects, the tools that ensure a continuous process of interaction and assistance to Ukraine. This should not depend on political factors, which may be in the United States, or Germany, or France, or somewhere else.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that the NATO summit should ensure the construction of a “bridge” to Ukraine's membership in the Alliance. This is a substitute for the MAP, the plan of direct actions for membership in the organization. What is important here is a format that would ensure constant interaction between Ukraine and NATO and significantly bring our country closer and integrate it into the Alliance.

In this regard, it is worth noting the creation of a mission that will work in Germany under the auspices of the Alliance, and will coordinate all assistance to Ukraine. Such a mission should just get rid of the influence of certain political factors and increase the efficiency of deliveries from different countries. This is exactly the decision that can affect a significant strengthening of Ukraine's defense capability, which is why it caused such a rather painful reaction from Russia.

The third area that is important for us is long-term prospects. This is a strategic perspective that concerns the Alliance's readiness to see Ukraine as part of the bloc. Today, as we know, there is no unity within the bloc on this issue, moreover, there is no unity among the major countries. Emmanuel Macron openly stated that such signals are coming from the United States and Germany.

Perhaps they believe that in the midst of a war, it is worth concentrating on specific military assistance that would help change the balance of power at the front. But for us, it is important that despite the lack of unity among the key players on the issue of Ukraine's membership in NATO, the situation moves towards strengthening Ukraine. De jure, although we would not have an invitation to membership, de facto we would move in this direction, and strengthen interaction and partnership ties.

— The summit is taking place against the backdrop of a barbaric attack by Russians on a children's hospital in Kyiv. How did this factor affect the participants of the meeting?

— Russia wanted to show that the war would be of the most barbaric nature, when everyone would suffer. But we are not even talking about military facilities here, the Russian Federation is deliberately destroying civilian infrastructure in order to advance the narrative that the war must be ended under any conditions, that is, under Russia's conditions.

The attacks on Ukrainian medical institutions are simply an attempt to scare. Russia believes that in this way Ukraine can be pushed to capitulate. The Kremlin is trying to act from a position of strength, as usual, realizing that the West is gradually developing the idea of the inevitability and lack of alternative to providing Ukraine with more military aid in order for a real peace process to begin.

In the West, they are increasingly saying that there are two wars going on: not only a hot one in Ukraine, but also a hybrid one in the European countries themselves. We have heard many statements about arson in Poland and the Baltic countries, and there are constant clashes with illegal migrants on the eastern borders of the European Union. It has gotten to the point that there is a risk of a terrorist attack on American military facilities in Europe, in particular in Germany. I think that all this is connected with the fact that Russia understands that the West is approaching a qualitative and quantitative increase in aid to Ukraine.

This can really have a dramatic impact on the situation at the front, and most importantly, it can break this approach, on which Russia is spending its strength and resources, that peace can only be achieved through these ultimatum proposals from Putin. It is important to pay attention here to the statement that Poland can shoot down missiles that will fly from the Russian side. This brings closer the decisions regarding air defense, which will not be located on the territory of Ukraine, but will shoot down missiles flying at us.

If a decision is really made to at least partially close the sky from the side of neighboring countries, if Ukrainian military personnel are trained in the West, if Western military personnel are in Ukraine and if we get the opportunity to hit military targets in Russia, this can really have a dramatic impact on the course of the war and the achievement of peace.

I think everyone can see from these attacks, including the unique children's hospital “Okhmatdyt”, that all this talk about negotiations from China, Russia, Orban is not about peace. Russia does not want a fair peace, it does not even want the conflict to be frozen. But if the West shows determination, overcomes this psychological barrier and really provides all the necessary assistance to Ukraine, then this will bring the end of the war closer and create conditions for a real peace process. A number of non-public decisions may be made that will concern precisely this defense option. Not only Ukraine, but also Eastern European countries. There may be much greater interaction here.

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