Ukraine ‘would be a great asset to NATO’ as majority back membership

Rishi Sunak responds to Ben Wallace’s Ukraine comments

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has hit out at NATO leaders for showing “no readiness” to invite Ukraine to join the international alliance after a declaration was signed at the latest summit in Lithuania that did not give a clear timeline or conductions for membership.

Yet a new poll has revealed that 72 percent of readers support Ukraine becoming a member of NATO in the future.

A statement issued on Tuesday by the 31 NATO members said that while “Ukraine’s future is in NATO” when the war with Russia is over, an invitation is subject to Kyiv completing “democratic and security sector reforms”.

The lack of formal invitation or timetable led Mr Zelensky to say: “It seems there is no readiness neither to invite Ukraine to NATO nor to make it a member of the alliance.”

But NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said that Ukraine “is now closer to NATO than ever before”, with the first NATO-Ukraine Council meeting taking place on Wednesday, which acts as a forum for Kyiv and NATO members “to consult and make decisions together”.

READ MORE: Hugs or shrugs? How NATO world leaders greeted Ukraine at this year’s summit

In a poll that ran from 3pm on Wednesday, July 12, to 3.15pm on Thursday, July 13, asked readers: “Should Ukraine be allowed to join NATO despite Russia’s warning?”

Overall, 2,687 votes were cast, with the vast majority of readers, 72 percent (1,926 people), answering “yes” they should, compared with 27 percent (720 people) who said “no”. A further 41 people said they did not know.

Dozens of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers shared their thoughts on Ukraine’s future in NATO.

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Most readers agreed that Ukraine should be allowed to join the alliance when the conflict with Russia ends, with username Stevie012 commenting: “Ukraine would be a great asset to NATO.”

Username John 57 wrote: “Yes, but not until after this war is over. Granting membership now would be tantamount to NATO declaring war on Russia.”

Another, username Lurccio, said: “Not until the conflict with Russia is resolved. To admit them before would oblige the rest of NATO to be formerly involved

While username Bunnykins added: “NATO should bring Ukraine into the alliance the moment the war is over. That’s the only way to ensure peace.

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Mr Zelensky has said that the lack of certainty gives Russia the opportunity “to continue its terror”, with the potential to use Ukraine’s membership with NATO in a peace deal.

This week US President Joe Biden and G7 leaders also announced a joint declaration of long-term support for Ukraine, with Mr Biden sying: “We’re going to help Ukraine build a strong, capable defence across land, air and sea, from which they’ll be a force of stability in the region and deter against any and all threats.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that western support for Ukraine could lead to military escalation. He told Russian online newspaper on Wednesday: “The USA and its NATO satellites are creating the risk of a direct military confrontation with Russia and this can have catastrophic consequences.”

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