NATO's Return to Europe: Engaging Ukraine, Russia, and Beyond
Ukraine has lingered at the doorstep of NATO longer than any other candidate country. Since 2002, NATO has espoused a policy of integrating Ukraine into its Euro-Atlantic security structure with the end goal of full membership. Despite NATO's public pronouncements in support of Ukraine eventually becoming a member, it does not seem that the Alliance is fully committed to enlargement to Ukraine. On its part, Ukraine has not done the best job of convincing NATO of its worthiness as a potential Ally. Ukraine's path toward membership has been complicated by its internal problems and political divisions. It has repeatedly vacillated between two policy positions: remaining militarily neutral or seeking to join the Alliance. Also, Ukraine has the complication of its powerful eastern neighbor, Russia, adamantly opposing its accession to NATO. Even though Ukraine is not currently an official candidate for admission to NATO, it has indicated a desire to integrate more closely with NATO so that it may eventually become a member.
Wolff, Andrew T. "NATO's Enlargement Policy to Ukraine and Beyond: Prospects and Options." In NATO's Return to Europe: Engaging Ukraine, Russia, and Beyond, edited by Rebecca R. Moore and Damon Coletta, 71-95. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2017.