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A 'Bridge' Too Far: NATO Bosses Mull How to Better Dangle Membership Carrot Before Ukraine's Nose

© AFP 2023 / ODD ANDERSENFlags of the Ukraine (L) and the NATO are pictured on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Vilnius on July 12, 2023.
Flags of the Ukraine (L) and the NATO are pictured on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Vilnius on July 12, 2023.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.07.2024
Mere days before the launch of the NATO summit in Washington DC, the bloc’s leadership apparently strives to keep up Ukraine’s hope of one day joining the bloc, even if the odds of Kiev being granted membership anytime soon are slim.
With the summit slated to kick off on July 9, NATO bosses are trying to work out the wording of their promises to Ukraine, with news website Euractiv claiming that “negotiations on the draft declaration text are expected to remain ongoing until the very last minute.”
Specifically, NATO officials push the so-called “bridge to NATO” narrative that entails Ukraine receiving tangible benefits, like training for its armed forces and military aid, that mark Kiev’s metaphorical road to the membership in the bloc.
At the same time, some of the NATO members want to force Ukraine to undergo certain domestic reforms before it is allowed into the bloc, amid debates whether to portray Kiev’s journey into NATO’s fold as irreversible.
Basically, the media outlet notes - citing several NATO diplomats familiar with the matter - that bloc officials are trying to figure out “how to link the words ‘bridge’, ‘irreversibility’, and ‘reforms’,” i.e. wrap all of the aforementioned components in one preferably non-contradictory package.
Russian servicemen of the artillery brigade division of the Tsentr battlegroup of forces fire a BM-27 9K57 Uragan (Hurricane) multiple launch rocket system towards positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces  - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.07.2024
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One senior European diplomat, however, told Euractiv: “It’s nice that we’re getting into the business of building bridges, the question is how strong or stable are they?”
“It makes a difference whether the bridge is made of paper, wood or steel and certainly it makes a difference whether it’s short or rather long-distance,” the diplomat added.
“The thing about the bridge is that we don’t know how long it is,” another NATO diplomat reportedly remarked.
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