British Defense Minister Ben Wallace said Thursday that NATO should consider skipping a Membership Action Plan (MAP) as a requirement for Ukraine to join the Western military alliance.
The MAP is designed to ensure aspiring NATO members meet certain political, economic, and military standards to join the alliance. Waiving the MAP would speed up Ukrainian membership if NATO ever formally invites Kyiv to join.
According to the UK Parliament’s House of Commons Library, between 1999 and 2020, every new NATO member joined through a MAP. But Finland and Sweden were invited last year without having to go through the MAP process.
"I think we should absolutely look at skipping the Membership Action Plan," Wallace said.
"But of course, we have to put some realism in this space that there are 31 members of NATO now and, you know, we have to all move together."
Ukraine is looking to be invited to join the alliance at the Vilnius summit that will be held from July 11-12. But most NATO members agree that Ukraine can’t join the alliance while it’s fighting a war with Russia and is looking for other guarantees to give Kyiv.
Recent media reports said President Biden was “open” to the idea of waiving the MAP for Ukraine, but he told reporters that wasn’t the case. "They got to meet the same standards. So I’m not going to make it easier," he said.
Ukraine was first promised it would eventually become a NATO member in 2008 despite the fact that Ukrainian entry into the alliance is a major red line for Russia. Any new promises for Kyiv at the Vilnius summit will only serve to prolong the war, as one of Russia’s main motives for invading was Ukraine’s alignment with NATO.