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  • Writer's pictureAnton Kuchuhidze

International Press Review dated 3 - 14 July 2023

This week, the international press has been focused on the NATO summit in Vilnius, which began on Tuesday, 11 July. Security guarantees from the bloc's member states constituted the most important result for Ukraine after the two-day NATO summit.

On the eve of the Vilnius summit, an interesting article appeared in The Washington Post about the fact that only NATO membership can guarantee peace in Ukraine. The author of the article notes that NATO can now correct at least some of its mistakes made in 2008. After all, leaving Ukraine out of NATO means an appeal for renewed aggression. NATO membership will cement the reality that Ukraine's destiny lies with the West, NATO and the European Union. The sooner putin faces this clear and unmistakable reality, the sooner he will be forced to admit that he has lost his war.

Critics of NATO membership say it will provoke putin to continue the war. However, history shows otherwise: putin invaded only non-NATO countries. That is, the West clearly understands that Ukraine's membership in the Alliance is an integral part of the global security system.

It is likely that we will never learn all the details and results of the summit in Vilnius, but some information has started to appear about agreements on powerful defence packages. So, for example, Reuters write that there is an agreement on new Patriot systems from Germany and strong agreements with Canada.

The Wall Street Journal also writes that the Biden administration plans to send cluster munitions to Ukraine to strengthen its offensive positions in the fight against russian troops. The munitions would be useful, especially against dug-in russian positions on the battlefield.

The NATO summit in Vilnius demonstrates that Ukraine's partners do not just believe in Ukraine’s victory; they are confident in it. After all, the next declaration, which is expected to be signed by all G7 members, will define how allies will support Ukraine in the coming years to end the war, as well as to deter and respond to any future attacks of the aggressor.

The Biden administration plans to send cluster munitions, which strew small bomblets over a wide area, to Ukraine to strengthen its hand in a high-stakes offensive against Russian forces, senior U.S. officials said.

The White House has agreed to grant a waiver under the U.S. arms export laws to send the weapons, formally known as dual-purpose improved conventional munitions, or DPICM.

The munitions “would be useful, especially against dug-in Russian positions on the battlefield,” Laura Cooper, a senior Defense Department official, told Congress last month.

"Our support will last long into the future. It's a powerful statement of our commitment to Ukraine," President Joe Biden said alongside Zelenskiy and leaders of the G7, which is made up of the U.S., Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.

"We're going to be there as long as that takes.

"Today there are security guarantees for Ukraine on the way to NATO," he said. "The Ukraine delegation is bringing home a significant security victory for Ukraine."

Nevertheless, Zelenskiy pressed for more and said he would raise Ukraine's need for long-range weapons at a meeting with Biden at the summit.

"We can state that the results of the summit are good, but if there was an invitation, they would be ideal," he added.

To leave Ukraine outside the NATO alliance is an invitation to renewed aggression. NATO membership will cement the reality that Ukraine’s destiny belongs in the West, in NATO and in the European Union. The sooner Putin is confronted with that clear and unmistakable reality, the sooner he will be forced to accept that he has lost his war.

Putin won’t willingly give up on his quest to conquer Ukraine as long as he believes he can succeed. He will use any cessation of hostilities to pause, reconstitute his forces and resume his invasion in a few years’ time — just like he did in after his 2014 invasion and annexation of Crimea.

It will be up to Ukrainians to decide whether to join NATO before they have fully reunified their country. If they do, NATO should not recognize Russian annexation of any Ukrainian territory — just as allies never recognized the Soviet annexation of the Baltic states. But the only way Ukrainians will be able to make that choice is if it is backed by NATO’s Article 5 guarantee that an attack on one is an attack on all.

Is President Biden listening? Throughout the more than year-long war, he has dithered and hesitated in providing Ukraine the kinds of weapons that could prove decisive against the onslaught, and then did so only after public and congressional pressure forced him to. This is much the way he reacted to the Chinese espionage aircraft that he allowed to drift over strategic sites in the United States before shooting it down.

Even without sending regular troops, the United States and NATO have thrown in their lot with Ukraine. A failure to defeat Russia now, with its shaky leadership and seemingly incompetent military, would be a devastating blow to the remarkably courageous and resilient Ukrainian people and to the West’s credibility.

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