US President Joe Biden’s administration is reluctant to offer Ukraine full NATO membership and is instead pushing for the “Israel model”, meaning a time-limited commitment to maintain the flow of Western weapons to the country, the New York Times reported.
The pledge would fall short of a collective defense guarantee, which Kiev and some Eastern European members of NATO are advocating, the newspaper said on Wednesday, citing officials familiar with the deliberations. A possible commitment to Kiev would be shorter than the ten-year agreement that is signed with Israel, the report suggested.
Opponents of Ukraine’s accession to NATO are concerned it would further escalate the crisis with Moscow. They have argued that by joining the organization, Ukraine would play “into [the] Russian narrative” about the nature of the conflict, according to the report.
Russian officials have described the hostilities in Ukraine as part of a US-led proxy war against their country. Moscow has called NATO’s expansion in Europe one of the key causes of the conflict.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky reportedly threatened to boycott the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, unless his country was given a roadmap to membership. The NYT sources said Germany was the only member of the military bloc that has fully sided with Biden on the issue.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who met the US leader earlier this week, reportedly suggested a “compromise” proposal to Kiev. It would entail a pledge to maintain arms flows regardless of the outcome of the ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive.
Kiev’s representation in the bloc would also be upgraded to council level, which is what Russia used to have before its relations with the West deteriorated. Then, “Ukraine could be playing the role inside NATO that Russia once did,” the newspaper suggested.