WASHINGTON—Last week, members of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Chairman Representative Joe Wilson (SC-02), Ranking Member Representative Steve Cohen (TN-09), Commissioners Sen. Richard Blumenthal (CT), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Rep. Mike Lawler (NY-17), and Rep. Richard Hudson (NC-09) sent a letter to President Biden, requesting he work with our North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies to ensure that Ukraine receives a concrete and achievable pathway to NATO membership at next month’s NATO Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania. Members of Congress Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC), Rep. Lloyd Doggett (TX-37), Rep. Mike Quigley (IL-05), Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Rep. Thomas Kean II (NJ-07), and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18) were co-signatories.
In the letter, the Commissioners emphasize the importance of NATO providing Ukraine a near-term path to membership as part of a forward leaning effort to lay the groundwork for restoring, expanding, and enforcing peace in the region. The Commissioners also highlighted the value Ukraine would bring to NATO as both a model for democratic resilience and a premier military power that has faced Russia in the field.
The letter reads:
Dear President Biden,
In the face of Russia’s wanton aggression, we ask that you work with our NATO allies to ensure Ukraine receives a concrete and achievable pathway to NATO membership at the upcoming NATO Summit.
Next month, leaders from the 31 member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will gather in Vilnius, Lithuania for what should be the most momentous summit for NATO since the end of the Cold War. The 2022 NATO Summit in Madrid was a critical moment to forge Alliance unity in the face of Russia’s full-scale war of aggression against Ukraine and the very idea of a Europe whole, free, and at peace. However, this year’s summit challenges the Atlantic Alliance to lay the crucial groundwork for restoring that peace, expanding it, and establishing fresh mechanisms to enforce it. It is in that spirit that we urge that the United States should take a forward leaning position in Vilnius and beyond to ensure Ukraine has a concrete, near-term path to NATO membership as soon as conditions allow.
Ukraine’s recovery and Europe’s long-term security depend on our efforts during this moment. Russia could continue to be a threat to Ukraine, a disaster for European peace, and a challenge to U.S. interests around the world. Counting Ukraine as an Ally is also squarely in the Alliance’s self-interest: Ukraine in NATO will be a premier military power and the only European state to have faced Russian forces on the field since the end of the Cold War—and won. Ukrainian membership will also be a powerful expression of our shared values and solidarity with a democratic, open society that has demonstrated remarkable resilience in the face of the unendurable.
It is clear that forward progress on Ukraine’s integration into NATO will not happen without U.S. leadership. Even if establishing a date for Ukraine’s accession may be beyond the reach of this Summit, a clear and achievable pathway to membership, alongside robust security commitments until accession occurs, is the minimum outcome we should expect from the meeting in Vilnius. We urge you to ensure the Alliance’s upcoming Summit truly meets the demands of this fraught moment and lays the foundation for a more peaceful, prosperous and secure Europe.
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