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11 Jul, 2023 09:16

Nearly half of Poles against Ukrainian NATO membership – survey

Polish President Andrzej Duda has expressed hope that Kiev will be given a roadmap toward joining the bloc at a summit this week
Nearly half of Poles against Ukrainian NATO membership – survey

Nearly half of the Polish population opposes immediate NATO membership for Ukraine, a survey has indicated. Officials in Kiev have insisted on being rapidly accepted into the military bloc, although heavyweight members such as the US and Germany have expressed their reservations.

According to a poll by IBRiS and commissioned by the Rzeczpospolita newspaper, 47.7% of Poles do not want Ukraine to join NATO at present. Another 40% are in favor of immediate membership, while the rest voiced no preference.

Speaking on Monday, Polish President Andrzej Duda argued it is hard to imagine European security without Ukraine in NATO and the European Union.

Last week, Duda expressed hope that a decision would be made “regarding the first steps for Ukraine to soon join NATO” during the bloc’s summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, which kicks off on Tuesday. He also spoke in favor of Kiev becoming a “full member with full rights and guarantees.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky claimed in April that the “majority of Europeans” would not understand NATO leaders if they failed to extend a “well-deserved political invitation” to Kiev at the Vilnius summit.

Over the weekend, Britain’s Telegraph newspaper quoted anonymous NATO officials as saying that Germany had spoken out against offering Ukraine a clear roadmap or concrete guarantees of joining the alliance at the Vilnius meeting.

According to the newspaper, Berlin is concerned that Kiev would immediately invoke Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which declares that an attack on one is an attack on all, should it be admitted into the bloc.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz insisted last month that the Ukrainian leadership was well aware that joining NATO is “out of the question” while its military conflict with Russia continues.

US President Joe Biden recently voiced similar concerns, suggesting that Ukraine’s immediate NATO membership would mean “war with Russia.

Russia has long described NATO’s eastward expansion as a major threat to its national security. Senior officials in Moscow, including President Vladimir Putin, have repeatedly cited Ukraine’s NATO aspirations as one of the factors that led to Russia’s military action against its neighbor.