On Thursday morning, the Rada, the Ukrainian parliament, with a large majority of 276 votes in favor (the quorum was set at 226) approved the application for accession of the country to NATO. In the directive examined by the parliament in Kiev, it states it wants “to take all measures to deepen ties with the Alliance, in order to fulfill the criteria to join this organization.”
A symbolic step to create a new, more advanced, iron curtain between Russia and the rest of Europe. However, Ukraine’s road to membership of the Atlantic Alliance shall be uphill.
Irina Gherashenko, a representative of the Poroshenko bloc, spoke in the debate. She said that in 2014, the referendum on accession to NATO was placed nonchalantly aside because all the polls indicated the supporters of the yes to the Western defensive block would be outnumbered.
And despite the increase in the support — thanks to a relentless propaganda and to Putin’s errors — for the war in the Donbass, even in traditionally pro-Russian eastern regions like Dnepro, Kharkov and Krivoy Rog, now the European countries have put the brakes. For a variety of reasons, all very serious. First of all, the standards of the NATO armies are very high and in order to adapt to them, Kiev should put its hand in sadly empty pockets.
At least this problem could be solved, given the fact that the International Monetary Fund has yet to pay the Slavic country $18 billion in loans.
However, at least for now, given the growing tensions with Trump, the Europeans do not seem to be in a hurry to add to the Atlantic family a poor relation that only brings troubles for a dowry.
Ukraine’s application form could be grasped by NATO’s European partners as an instrument of pressure on Putin to reopen the game of obligations to the Minsk agreements. The Kremlin has reacted harshly to the Rada’s decision.
The official spokesman of the Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov, said they see with “concern to the expansion of NATO towards our borders. We believe that this threatens our security and the balance in the Eurasian region. Russia, therefore, will take all necessary measures to rebalance the situation and protect its own interests and its own security.”
And with a touch of sarcasm, Peskov stressed that it would be surprising if Brussels accepts the membership “of a country with an ongoing civil war and territorial disputes.”
Kiev’s sensational decision concludes a week of escalation in the war of nerves between the two former Soviet countries. In recent days, the Ukrainian Ministry of Transport has announced the interruption of rail links with Russia (following on similar measures issued two years on air travel), but above all, the Ukrainian government has confirmed its willingness to re-introduce visa requirements between the two countries.
A measure that would weaken even further the links between Ukraine and Russia, unfortunately putting at risk the lives of over two million Ukrainian migrants in Russia (a workforce army composed mainly of caregivers and nannies) who would suddenly find themselves without legal status.
Meanwhile, even the “hot war” continues with a very low profile. Yesterday the militias of the popular republics announced they had killed 11 Ukrainian soldiers not far from Donetsk, after an intense firefight.