The recurring motif in discussions on the sidelines of the NATO summit taking place on September 4–5 in Wales is this: “But what can NATO do for Ukraine?” The presence of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko at the gathering seems to indicate that the Western alliance has somehow made itself Ukraine’s guarantee power.
But this is only true in a largely symbolic sense. In real terms, the West has made it clear from the beginning that it would not extend its security guarantee to Ukraine. Just as no one in the West was willing to go to war over Crimea, no one will go to war over eastern Ukraine. The West has been consistent on this, and a Western military intervention is unthinkable even for those who loathe Russia with every fiber of their being.