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NATO Shouldn’t Give Putin an Excuse to Prolong the War

NATO leaders last week declared an intention to invite Ukraine into the alliance but declined to provide an exact timeline. If Kyiv wants to reach a peace agreement with Russia anytime soon, Senior Fellow Elizabeth Shackelford argues, that vagueness is for the best.  

“Seven in 10 Russians said that NATO membership for Ukraine would threaten Russia, and preventing it is a top benefit of Russia’s military action in Ukraine,” she writes in the Chicago Tribune, citing new polling from the Council and Russia’s Levada Center. “If ending the war means Ukraine joins NATO, a lot of Russians might feel differently about their commitment to the fight.” 

Read her full analysis and dig deeper into the data on our website

The Data Dimension

Despite concerns about NATO expansion, more Russians believe the alliance has become weaker (37%) than stronger (14%) over the past year, Council-Levada Center polling finds. Meanwhile, a majority say Russia has become stronger (60%).   

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Ask an Expert

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How might the NATO summit impact US President Joe Biden’s approval ratings at home?

“Biden looking presidential and respected among this coalition of NATO leaders that he organized could help him—especially compared to the NATO summit just after the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the chaotic execution of that exit. […] After all, Americans are also voting for commander in chief, not just president.” 

—Senior Fellow Dina Smeltz via U.S. News and World Report​​​​​​

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About the Author
Communications Officer
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As the communications officer for the Lester Crown Center, Libby Berry works to connect audiences with foreign policy research and analysis.
headshot of Libby Berry