Former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen believes that Ukraine could join the alliance but that «collective self-defense» would not be extended to the Russian-occupied territories, The Guardian reported on Nov. 11.
This would mean that Ukraine could declare Article 5 in response to an attack on the territory it currently controls only, and not occupied areas.
Rasmussen argues that partial membership would warn Russia that it cannot prevent Ukraine from joining the Western defensive alliance. He denied that the move would freeze the conflict.
The former secretary-general also said that the issue of Ukraine’s NATO membership cannot be deferred again next year.
“The time has come to take the next step and extend an invitation for Ukraine to join NATO. We need a new European security architecture in which Ukraine is in the heart of NATO,” he said.
The Guardian reports that those advocating for Ukraine’s NATO membership are concerned about Article 5 being activated.
Rasmussen is confident that if Russian-controlled territories are excluded from Article 5, «the threat of a Russia-NATO conflict would be reduced.»
At the same time, Russia would receive a clear message that any violation of NATO territory would have consequences.
“The absolute credibility of Article 5 guarantees would deter Russia from mounting attacks inside Ukrainian controlled territory and free up Ukrainian forces to go to the frontline,” he said.