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NATO head of states meeting in Washington, DC. Credit: NATO

Outright membership in NATO is still not in the cards for Ukraine. Nonetheless, the North Atlantic Alliance is escalating further against Russia using Ukraine. “A strong, independent, and democratic Ukraine is vital for the security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic area,” the Washington Summit Declaration issued today following the heads of state/government meeting of the North Atlantic Council. “Ukraine’s fight for its independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders directly contributes to Euro-Atlantic security.”

The decisions announced in the declaration include:

• the establishment of the NATO Security Assistance and Training for Ukraine (NSATU) “to coordinate the provision of military equipment and training for Ukraine” by NATO members and partners.

• a Pledge of Long-Term Security Assistance for Ukraine “for the provision of military equipment, assistance, and training to support Ukraine in building a force capable of defeating Russian aggression.” The promised assistance is set at a minimum of €40 billion within the next year.

• the establishment of the NATO-Ukraine Joint Analysis, Training, and Education Center (JATEC), “an important pillar of practical cooperation, to identify and apply lessons from Russia’s war against Ukraine and increase Ukraine’s interoperability with NATO.”

“Ukraine’s future is in NATO,” the declaration says. “We welcome the concrete progress Ukraine has made since the Vilnius Summit on its required democratic, economic, and security reforms. As Ukraine continues this vital work, we will continue to support it on its irreversible path to full Euro-Atlantic integration, including NATO membership” (emphasis added).

The other side of supporting Ukraine is the condemnation of Russia. “Russia bears sole responsibility for its war of aggression against Ukraine, a blatant violation of international law, including the UN Charter,” the declaration claims. “There can be no impunity for Russian forces’ and officials’ abuses and violations of human rights, war crimes, and other violations of international law. Russia is responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians and has caused extensive damage to civilian infrastructure.”