By Ilya Tsukanov

France has reportedly dropped a decade-and-a-half-old objection to prospective Ukrainian membership in NATO, ostensibly in the interests of forcing Russia to the negotiating table amid Kiev’s flagging counteroffensive. Paris’ move is not only foolhardy, but highly dangerous, a pair of former US military officers have told Sputnik.

President Emmanuel Macron has reportedly agreed to the possibility of speeding up Ukrainian accession into NATO, reversing course on a policy pursued jointly by Paris and Berlin since 2008 to avoid triggering a direct conflict with Moscow.
“Ukraine’s entry into NATO would be perceived by Russia as something confrontational. You can’t imagine it with this kind of Russia,” Macron said as recently as December 2022.

But now, ahead of the long-awaited NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania in July, Macron has apparently agreed to dangle alliance membership before Kiev as a “security guarantee” and “means of influencing” the conflict and forcing Moscow and Kiev “to the negotiating table.”

The apparent shift in position, which comes against the backdrop of the Ukrainian military’s stalled counteroffensive, which has run into well-prepared Russian defensive lines costing Ukraine thousands of troops and hundreds of NATO-provided heavy tanks and armored vehicles, renews concerns about the proxy conflict escalating or even going nuclear as Western powers are sucked directly into the crisis.
Naive, Dangerous Step
It’s “very naive” for President Macron to believe that Ukrainian membership in NATO could somehow bring an end to the conflict, says Paul E. Vallely, a retired US Army major general now serving as chairman of the Stand Up America Foundation, a US advocacy and non-profit.

“It’s not going to make any sense. Putin is not going to agree to that. So it’s not going to happen. I mean they can try to put [Ukraine] into NATO, but then they’re escalating the conflict, and we could have a possible nuclear war,” Vallely told Sputnik. Western powers have “got to back off” and “understand that that’s not going to happen and it should not happen,” the observer stressed.

If Ukrainian integration into NATO proceeds, it will give Moscow the justification to expand its military operations, “maybe take Kiev, Odessa and basically finalize the conflict and remove Zelensky from power,” the retired general added.
David T. Pyne, an EMP Task Force scholar and former DoD officer, says that behind the scenes, NATO members know that membership for Kiev is a fairy tale, and always has been.

“Macron’s statement that he thinks French support for Ukraine’s membership in NATO will bring Russia to the negotiating table is absurd. It is Biden, the UK, and Zelensky that have refused all of Russia’s attempts to negotiate a mutually acceptable compromise peace agreement to end the war since April 2022. Were it not for the Biden administration’s decision to urge Ukraine to repudiate its tentative peace agreement with Russia and continue sending military and financial assistance to Ukraine, the war would have ended 14 months ago, and a couple hundred thousand Russian and Ukrainian lives would have been saved,” Pyne told Sputnik.