Ukraine can’t join NATO during conflict – Netherlands 

Aprilia Rine

Ukraine can’t join NATO during conflict – Netherlands 
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Accession to the US-led bloc is a “sensitive process” that may require intermediate steps, Dutch caretaker PM Mark Rutte has said 

The Netherlands’ caretaker prime minister, Mark Rutte, has said that admitting Ukraine to NATO is not feasible while the conflict with Russia is ongoing. Rutte has been described in the media as a frontrunner to become the next secretary-general of the US-led bloc.  

The politician made the comments at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday in response to a question about whether EU prime ministers would “personally support” Ukraine’s membership bid at the next NATO summit in Washington in July.   

“The bad news is – as long as the war is raging, Ukraine cannot become a member of NATO,” Rutte has said. “The good news is that we can learn from the European Union,” he added referring to the EU approach of implementing “intermediate steps” that countries take on “the way to accession” as opposed to NATO’s process that goes “from nothing to full membership.”  

Rutte admitted that the last time the question of Ukraine’s membership arose, Kiev was left “dissatisfied.” As a result, there is a need to “work carefully” to see “what next step is possible” so as not to “overpromise.”  

Ukraine applied to integrate with the NATO Membership Action Plan in 2008 and a decade later enshrined in its constitution membership in the US-led bloc as a strategic foreign policy goal.    

At last year’s NATO summit in Vilnius, the bloc’s leaders said that Ukraine’s “rightful place is in NATO,” but failed to provide clear commitments or describe a timeline.  

While the question of Ukraine’s membership is likely to be discussed at the next NATO summit in July, some Western politicians have warned against expecting a “big leap forward on that.”  

Russia views NATO expansion towards its border as a major security threat. President Vladimir Putin has argued that Western powers have used Ukraine to antagonize Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. In a recent interview with Tucker Carlson, Putin called the West’s approach to Ukraine a colossal political mistake, pointing to NATO’s 2008 promise to accept the country into the bloc, as well as the Western-supported coup in Kiev in 2014.

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