A group of NATO countries may be willing to put troops on the ground in Ukraine if member states including the US do not provide tangible security guarantees to Kyiv at the alliance’s summit in Vilnius, the former Nato secretary general Anders Rasmussen has said, writes The Guardian.
Rasmussen, who has been acting as official adviser to the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, on Ukraine’s place in a future European security architecture, has been touring Europe and Washington to gauge the shifting mood before the critical summit starts on 11 July.
He also warned that even if a group of states did provide Ukraine with security guarantees, others would not allow the issue of Ukraine’s future NATO membership to be kept off the agenda at Vilnius.
Rasmussen said: “If NATO cannot agree on a clear path forward for Ukraine, there is a clear possibility that some countries individually might take action. We know that Poland is very engaged in providing concrete assistance to Ukraine. And I wouldn’t exclude the possibility that Poland would engage even stronger in this context on a national basis and be followed by the Baltic states, maybe including the possibility of troops on the ground.
“I think the Poles would seriously consider going in and assemble a coalition of the willing if Ukraine doesn’t get anything in Vilnius. We shouldn’t underestimate the Polish feelings, the Poles feel that for too long western Europe did not listen to their warnings against the true Russian mentality”.
He said it would be entirely legal for Ukraine to seek such military assistance.
His striking suggestion that some states may regard the stakes as momentous enough to use their own troops could be seen as a warning to countries that the risks, including the threat to NATO unity, do not only come if Ukraine is provided a quick path to NATO membership, or powerful security guarantees. Germany remains wary of going too far, fearing it would provoke Russia.