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NATO criteria for new members and whether Ukraine meets them

NATO criteria for new members and whether Ukraine meets them Criteria for NATO new members and whether Ukraine meets them (Getty Images)

Ukraine is on the path to maximum alignment with NATO standards. It is now relatively better politically than some members already accepted into the Alliance, Chairman of the Permanent Delegation of Ukraine at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Yehor Cherniev, told RBC-Ukraine in the article "Collective defense: How NATO formed and why membership in Alliance important for Ukraine."

The US State Department's website lists the minimum criteria for new members:

  • must support democracy, including tolerance of diversity
  • develop a market economy
  • the armed forces must be under civilian control
  • be good neighbors and respect the sovereignty of other countries
  • work towards interoperability with NATO forces.

Commenting on whether Ukraine meets these criteria, Cherniev says that Ukraine is on the way to maximizing its compliance with these standards. However, in any case, everything depends on the political decisions of the Alliance members.

According to him, some of them were put in a worse political and economic situation than Ukraine is in now. And after joining, they were brought up to domestic standards.

"We have room for improvement, but this should not be a reason to delay decisions on NATO membership. So far, there is no consensus among the member states," he says.

The criteria are important but not the determining factor. Current members consider whether the bloc will be strengthened after the accession of a new participant and only then extend an invitation, which requires unanimous approval.

Ukraine's path to NATO

On September 30, 2022, it became known Ukraine would apply for accelerated accession to NATO. Ukraine expected to receive an invitation during the summer summit in Vilnius, but it did not happen.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stresses that Ukraine cannot join the Alliance until active combat operations cease.

At the end of November 2023, Kyiv received NATO recommendations on accession after the Ukraine-NATO Council meeting, which took place in Brussels on November 29.