CHICAGO – The recent NATO summit in Vilnius concluded with a pledge to admit Ukraine once its war with Russia ends. While the benefits of Ukraine’s accession to the alliance are well established, and most NATO countries view Ukraine as a prospective member, a consensus on the country’s immediate accession remains elusive.
But Ukraine and NATO’s existing members are not the only potential beneficiaries of Ukrainian membership. Even Russia, which invaded Ukraine under the pretext of preventing the alliance’s enlargement, has much to gain from this prospect. Ukraine’s entry into NATO would enable Russia to waste fewer resources on producing and stockpiling munitions. Although the Kremlin’s obsession with restoring the Russian empire will not vanish overnight, its impact on decision-making could be reduced. Much like Finland’s recent accession, once Ukraine’s entry is a fait accompli, it will cease to be a point of contention.