Analysis & Opinions - Just Security

Neither NATO, Nor Nukes: The Answer to Ukraine's Security is a Strategic Alliance with the United States

| May 20, 2021

Russia amassed more than 100,000 troops on Ukraine's eastern border and in illegally annexed Crimea in April. It billed these provocative movements as snap readiness exercises and eventually announced their withdrawal. To date, however, most of them remain, appearing poised to invade Ukraine. Whether Moscow is preparing for an invasion in earnest, posturing in anticipation of NATO's Defender Europe 21 exercise that began this month, testing the new Biden administration, diverting attention from Russia's domestic troubles, or some combination of the above remains unclear. One thing is certain: Russia has a superior military force and political resolve to unleash violence in Ukraine if it finds it politically expedient.

This is not only a persistent threat to Ukraine, a strategic partner of the United States, but also to the security of the NATO alliance and thus to core U.S. interests. In its recent threat assessment, the U.S. Intelligence Community recognized that Russia will continue to take advantage of power vacuums in order to advance its interests, undermine the interests of the United States, and weaken Western alliances. Ukraine is just such a power vacuum. The question is, how to effectively fill it and reduce the space in which Russia can continue to play its destructive games.

In Kyiv, anxieties ran high as the Russian buildup continued. The city administration released a map of bomb shelters to prepare for the eventuality of Russian air raids. Ukrainian officials also sounded the alarm internationally. Ukraine's Ambassador to Germany Andriy Melnyk called for the West to supply advanced weapons to Ukraine and stated that the only way to prevent a military attack by Russia is for Ukraine to join NATO. "The only other option," Melnyk added, "[is] to arm ourselves, and maybe think about nuclear status again."

NATO membership, once a minority faith in Ukraine, garnered the support of the majority of Ukrainians after Russia's invasion in 2014....

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Budjeryn, Mariana and Amb. Thomas Graham Jr..“Neither NATO, Nor Nukes: The Answer to Ukraine's Security is a Strategic Alliance with the United States.” Just Security, May 20, 2021.

The Authors