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Nato is 'wasting time' by considering Ukraine's membership during war, former US national security adviser tells LBC
11 July 2023, 19:05 | Updated: 11 July 2023, 19:39
Nato is 'wasting time' by considering Ukraine's membership during the war, a former US National Security Adviser has told LBC.
Speaking to LBC's Andrew Marr, Mr Bolton said: "This is making the same mistake Nato made in 2008. In April of that year, George W. Bush proposed bringing Ukraine and Georgia into fast-track at the Bucharest summit.
"Germany and France objected. Nato ended up with a statement saying, in effect, that Ukraine and Georgia would ultimately become Nato members.
"That created a grey zone between Nato’s border and Russia’s border that Russia exploited, invading Georgia four months later and then getting around to Ukraine in 2014. We’re about the make the same mistake again."
It comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hit out at Nato ahead of the summit, blasting allies for failing to set a firm timeline for his country to join the alliance.
"If you look at all the membership processes they are not based on timelines, they are conditions-based as it has always been," he added.
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But according to Mr Bolton, even discussing Ukraine's future Nato membership is a 'waste of time'.
"I think Biden has compounded it by saying things like ‘Ukraine’s not ready to join Nato’," he continued.
"There’s one issue that is dispositive here and suggests to me we should have said to Ukraine months ago: ‘don’t bring this up’.
"It’s a policy that’s based on the Treaty of Washington. Article 5 says an attack on one shall be deemed an attack on all.
"Nato has never admitted to membership a country at war because that would mean, inevitably, that the rest of the alliance is at war.“I think this whole thing is a massive waste of time and a signal to Russia of disunity in the alliance."
He continued: “This is a conclusion that Finland and Sweden reached, giving up 75 year of neutrality that Germany and France couldn’t understand back in 2008 - that the only secure defence against Russian military attack is to behind behind a Nato border.
"If the Europeans had agreed to this when Bush first proposed it, I don’t think we’d be at war now. But now that we are, Ukraine has to understand that Nato membership is simply not possible because you wouldn’t get 31 - soon to be 32 - other members to agree to it.
"It is a mistake as I say, however, for Joe Biden or others to talk about lack of democracy, corruption and 58 other things the Ukrainians need to do."
Mr Bolton added that when a number of Eastern and central European nations were admitted after the Berlin Wall’s collapse, they were not “paradigms” of transparency and democracy. "That’s not the issue,” he said.“This just complicates things at a time of real crisis in Ukraine."