Ukraine’s NATO membership talks “of no strategic importance” as a tool to put pressure on Russia – Analyst



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The Zelensky administration recently raised hopes that Ukraine would be allowed to join NATO “as soon as possible” – just as Kiev received US $ 150 million in military aid. But Paolo Raffone, strategic analyst and director of the CIPI Foundation in Brussels, believes Ukraine is hardly strategically important to the bloc.

Sputnik: At the next NATO summit in Brussels on Monday, member states will discuss, among other things, “support for Ukraine”. What medium are we talking about here? What place will Ukraine occupy in NATO’s new “Strategic Concept 2030”?

Paolo Raffone: Ukraine has become an obsession for the EU and NATO since the famous “F ** k the EU” [quote from Victoria Nuland]. The rhetoric of Ukrainian territorial integrity will continue, when everyone knows that Crimea is not on the table. Ukraine is not strategically important to NATO or to Russia. The integration of Ukraine into NATO is a threat used by the United States to keep the pressure on Russia, although far from being implemented. Most likely, Ukraine will remain a frozen issue with some kind of NATO involvement. The prospect of 2030 is not possible today because the global balance of power may change. NATO’s strategic concept is designed to keep the EU in the space of a hegemonic power, mainly for global issues like China, and to prevent more ties with Russia. The hegemonic power should be the only one to deal with Russia.

Sputnik: Speaking of US ambitions in the region, is there broad bipartisan support in the US for advancing Ukrainian interests? What political points could Washington gain from supporting Kiev?

Paolo Raffone: The United States has no strategic advantage in supporting Kiev. Public support for Ukraine in the US and the EU is very low. Ukraine is primarily a Democrat business – Republicans are less inclined to support it. However, this is a question used for negotiation between them.

Sputnik: What challenges does involvement in the Ukrainian crisis pose for the West? Why is Ukraine so important in the first place?

Paolo Raffone: The involvement in Ukraine in military terms is nonsense for the EU and unnecessary for the United States. The defense systems of the United States and NATO do not need Ukraine to counter Russia in the European region. To some extent, the Ukrainian question is used in the market with Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean. In redefining the balance of power at the global level, the United States and its allies must show their power and mark their territory. The Black Sea is a pivotal area for the show of power as it involves Turkey and Russia.

Sputnik: Is resolving the crisis in Ukraine and ensuring its “territorial integrity” the real goal here, or are there other strategic goals America is trying to pursue?

Paolo Raffone: Ukrainian territorial integrity is a fig leaf hiding an easy way to keep the EU and European powers engaged with the United States. No one will risk a confrontation with the US / Russia to save Ukraine. It is done with the hope that no mistakes will occur to cause an escalation. None of the superpowers would win a showdown in Ukraine. Low-intensity conflict and border skirmishes serve the interests of both sides in showing their power and determination to the domestic public, while reaching deals on strategic global issues.

The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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