NATO's larger member states lack clear strategic goals for achieving peace in Ukraine, and also have no clear vision for the post-war security architecture, according to security expert Rainer Saks
Saks made his remarks in the context of the NATO summit in Vilnius, now in its second day – adding that pledges of additional security guarantees to Ukraine, primarily via new and longer-term arms deliveries, was welcome.
Saks told ERR that: "Some of the additional armament decisions will probably be announced today."
"Each of the promised contributions count as a very important addition, but we are still talking about small gains, as none of it guarantees Ukraine a clear superiority over Russian forces any time in the near future. This makes Ukraine's capability of liberating its entire territory via a counterattack this year doubtful."
While outcomes are not bad, communication on Ukrainian victory has been lacking in Vilnius, he added.
"It leaves the impression that at least the larger NATO members have no clear strategic goals for achieving peace and a vision for the post-war security set-up. Instead, they are trying to resolve the military conflict, yet without affecting the current security relationship in respect of Russia. The lack of any clear common vision makes the optics of the actions of the parties involved uncertain."
The member states at least agreed on a position that the parties themselves draw up a simplified process for achieving membership on the part of Ukraine, which " makes it clear that Ukraine is welcome as a member of NATO," Saks said, noting that it is comprehensible that full membership cannot be extended by the alliance's secretary general and leading member states, for as long as the current war is ongoing.
"Ukraine itself has also publicly and officially acknowledged this;" Saks added.
Weapons aid and armament cooperation programs essentially mean that Ukraine will be re-armed along the lines of NATO standards, which in and of itself will certainly contribute towards achieving full membership, in addition to helping to ensure security in the face of the Russian aggression.
A coalition of countries training Ukrainian pilots for F-16 fighter jets is now expanding its activities, one example of how rearming Ukraine also has a positive impact on the arms industry.
Saks also noted that Ukraine has some takeaways on how to act towards ensuring the membership goal remains on track – previously, some of Ukraine's statements had been "overly intrusive and aggressive," Saks added.
He also highlighted the advent of the Ukraine-NATO council as an important waystage, and not an end in itself.
Russia's backwardness in diplomacy, info ops and other areas will also help the process along from the perspective of Ukraine being more successful in the war.
That country's response to what has taken place during day one of the summit has been very much by-the-numbers and sluggish, he added.
"The style of communication that has developed in Russia in recent years no longer allows distinguishing real intentions from routine threats," Saks said.
Editor: Andrew Whyte