The United States-Russia relationship is already in bad shape, and U.S. diplomats are hurting it further by sending conflicting messages about Ukraine’s future relationship with NATO.
First, NATO and Kiev signed a letter of intent in February for cooperation between their special operations forces. Two months later American ambassador and current NATO Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow said it was time to bring the Ukrainian military “in line with NATO standards.” Barely one week later, though, the U.S. Ambassador to NATO ruled out NATO expansion for the “next several years.”
These muddled messages only cause confusion, provoking Russia while potentially false hope for Ukraine. For that reason, it’s time for Washington to make clear that Ukrainian accession to NATO is not on the table. Here’s why.