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Neutral European nations urge NATO to boost cooperation amid Russian aggression

Neutral European nations urge NATO to boost cooperation amid Russian aggression Photo: Neutral countries in Europe have called on NATO to increase cooperation (Getty Images)

Neutral countries, including Austria, Ireland, Malta, and Switzerland, have proposed that NATO deepen cooperation, including expanding participation in military exercises and intelligence sharing in the WEP4 format, amid Russia's aggression against Ukraine, according to Die Presse.

At the end of December last year, diplomats from four neutral countries sent a letter to NATO proposing to expand cooperation.

Representatives of the neutral countries made specific proposals to deepen ties with the Alliance, ranging from increased participation in exercises to privileged access to documents and information. In particular, Austria, Ireland, Malta, and Switzerland intend to increase intelligence sharing and establish cooperation in the areas of cybersecurity, critical infrastructure protection, and the fight against new disruptive technologies.

In the letter, the diplomats call neutral countries and NATO close partners with shared values. The North Atlantic Alliance and the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed to the publication that neutral countries are increasingly seeking exchange with the Alliance in the WEP4 format (four Western European partners).

The Austrian Foreign Ministry notes that it intends to use the WEP4 format to draw attention to its contribution and opportunities for European security.

Ukraine and NATO membership

After Russia's full-scale invasion, Ukraine is also working to maximize its cooperation with NATO. Thus, Kyiv has applied for membership in the Alliance. Ukraine demanded an accelerated accession procedure without the so-called NATO Membership Action Plan.

At the summit in Lithuania, NATO countries promised that Ukraine would definitely become a NATO member immediately after the war. However, Kyiv wants to receive an official invitation that would guarantee accession to the alliance.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna, the United States and Germany are opposed to Ukraine's official invitation to NATO.