At the forum “NATO.UA What is the optimal security system for Ukraine and Europe?”experts concluded that there is no alternative to NATO to guarantee Ukraine’s security. In the time of Russia’s war aggression, almost the entire population of Ukraine now agrees with this.
However, Ukraine’s accession to NATO is not a short-term prospect. But it is necessary to guarantee the security of the state now, the experts stressed.
Answering the question about the price of Ukraine’s security outside NATO, Mykola Bielieskov, Chief Consultant of the National Institute for Strategic Studies and Senior Analyst at the “Come Back Alive” Foundation, emphasized that when Ukraine announced its movement to NATO twenty years ago, economic and financial calculations were one of the critical arguments.
“We spent up to 2.7-2.8% of GDP on defense even before the full-scale war. Now we see that this is not enough. For comparison, Israel has been struggling for survival for decades, spending up to 30% of its GDP while also receiving US assistance. There are no alternatives to collective security for us. Without a nuclear and conventional umbrella, the cost of self-defense will be sky-high,” Mykola Bielieskov emphasized. “There is no alternative to NATO, experts understand it, and now most of the population understands it. But it is necessary to guarantee security here, and now, the expert stated.
“What has changed this year? No one needs to be convinced of the benefits of Ukraine’s participation in Euro-Atlantic security. If in the “zero” years we were perceived as an additional burden, now our added value is obvious – 85% of the Russian army is concentrated here, and Russia cannot threaten anyone on other flanks. It is obvious to everyone that there can be no security in Europe without Ukraine. No one needs to be convinced of this. Even such skeptics as Kissinger already say that NATO should consider Ukraine a de facto part of its planning. Significant, terrible sacrifices, but we have achieved this.”
“However, it should be borne in mind that the main task of NATO is not to involve existing members in conflicts for the sake of countries outside the Alliance. Only by February 24 we had efficient security guarantees and weapons. Now we are at another level – we receive high-precision long-range land, sea, and air-based systems, which we use effectively. This is important for us, and the Pentagon recognizes it,” Bielieskov noted.
“According to the Institute for Strategic Studies expert, we have to become in a positive sense Finland – which has been building the defense sector for a long time and used the chance to join NATO as soon as the window of opportunity opened. To implement this scenario, we, in particular, must constantly appeal: the price of not joining NATO is much higher than the cost of joining in time. We must do everything to become the 33rd member of NATO – that is, to join it next and soon!” Bielieskov ambitiously concluded.