Wars to join NATO: Major Russian daily confirms Ukraine-Georgia parallel

April 7, 2021

Kommersant: Ukraine seeking NATO membership, tries to drag alliance into Donbass quagmire

See: Ukraine, Georgia offer control of the Black Sea in exchange for NATO membership
Preconditions for joining NATO include the absence of unresolved territorial disputes and of foreign military presence within a candidate nation. Four months after NATO’s assurance of its future membership the Georgian government of President Mikheil Saakashvili attempted to overcome both those barriers at one time by invading South Ossetia with plans to then invade Abkhazia. Those two republics were formerly part of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic and Tbilisi still claims them as part of post-Soviet Georgia. The U.S. and NATO support those claims. In 2008 there were small contingents of Commonwealth of Independent States-mandated Russian peacekeepers in both locations. The Georgian-Russian war of 2008 was the result of Georgia attempting to qualify for NATO membership by invading and reincorporating Abkhazia (which is on the Black Sea) and South Ossetia and driving Russian troops out of those two states.
In 2014 pro-NATO forces in Ukraine attempted to make their nation ready for NATO membership as well with the “Euromaidan” uprising and coup, directed by the Barack Obama administration with the bipartisan support of the likes of Senator John McCain. If not for Donetsk, Lugansk and Crimea refusing to recognize and submit to the post-coup junta and its violent, often openly neo-Nazi (for example, the Azov Battalion) storm troopers, there is little doubt that the autonomous status of Crimea would have been revoked and the Russian Black Sea Fleet, stationed in Sevastopol since 1783, would have been evicted. That so that the impediments to NATO membership would be removed.

The Donbass negotiations are stuck in the mud. Neither the Normandy format, nor the Contact Group are able to agree on anything, Kommersant writes. Against this background, Kiev is betting on the West’s help, trying to persuade NATO to grant Ukraine membership in the alliance. According to the newspaper, the events that are now unfolding are beginning to look like the situation that had developed in 2008 before the war in another hot spot – South Ossetia.

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission’s latest report, dated April 3, shows a notable surge in ceasefire violations in Donbass. There were 594 breaches in the Donetsk region and 427 violations in Lugansk. Due to this exacerbation, on April 6, Kiev requested an emergency meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) to resolve the situation in eastern Ukraine. However, the chances that the negotiations initiated by Ukraine will take place are slim, Kommersant’s sources say.

While the negotiations are at a standstill, Ukraine has focused on dragging the West into the conflict, and NATO in particular, Kommersant writes. Special efforts are being directed towards NATO. President Vladimir Zelensky of Ukraine believes that NATO is the only way to end the war in Donbass. However, the talks about Ukraine’s membership in NATO, judging by Washington’s comments, failed to lead to the desired result that Kiev wants, according to the newspaper.

The latest events around Donbass resemble 2008 when Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili also actively sought to join NATO. Instead of a membership action plan, back then Ukraine and Georgia received assurances from NATO that they would become members of the alliance. After that, the conflicts in South Ossetia and Abkhazia began to rapidly heat up, and it all ended with the August war and the recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Kommersant writes.