Day 848: if not NATO, then who? A closer look at the debate on securing Ukraine’s future

A Russian missile and drone attack on the energy system damages equipment in four regions. Ukraine expects the allies to commit to its “irreversible” path to NATO at the Washington summit. EU countries agree on a 14th package of sanctions against Russia. 

Russian missile, drone attack on energy system damages equipment in four regions

A Russian missile and drone attack on energy infrastructure in the early hours of Thursday damaged power equipment in four regions. 

The attack hit power structures in Vinnytsia, Dnipropetrovska, Donetsk, and Kyiv regions. There were no immediate details of the damage from the strikes. The Ukrainian Air Force said it shot down five out of nine missiles and all 27 drones launched by Russia.

The attack caused “extensive” damage to a thermal power plant, wounded seven workers and cut off electricity to a few hundred thousand consumers. 

The Kyiv city military administration said the capital was targeted by drones from the north east side. “All enemy targets were destroyed on approaches to the capital,” the message reads.  

In Kyiv, there were no damages or casualties, the city’s military administration said. DTEK, a country’s power producer said overhead power lines were damaged in the Brovary district near Kyiv.

“At 5 a.m., energy workers restored power to 5,250 households, using reserve power lines,” DTEK said in a statement. “We are dealing with the consequences of the attack. We are making all efforts to bring back the light to all families in Kyiv region today,” it added.

Ukraine expects allies to commit to its “irreversible” path to NATO at Washington summit

Ukraine expects that the allies will commit to Ukraine’s irreversible path toward membership at the NATO summit in Washington, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine, Olha Stefanishyna told Interfax Ukraine on Thursday.

“Our expectations in terms of the Euro-Atlantic integration remain unchanged: [we expect] membership. And the language matters,” Stefanishyna said, when asked about a possibly “weaker” wording of Ukraine’s membership prospects reportedly proposed by some of the allies for next month’s NATO summit.

“As a country that has been fighting for survival for the third year in a row, we prioritize specific actions. That’s why, together with our allies, we are preparing a package of decisions for the NATO summit in Washington set to strengthen Ukraine’s defense capability,” she said.  

Stefanishyna said she was thankful to the allies who realize the threat posed by “the ambiguity of wording on Ukraine’s [NATO] membership.” 

“Stable unprecedented support for NATO membership demonstrated by the Ukrainians marks irreversibility of the [country’s] Euro-Atlantic course. Ukraine will not be a ‘gray zone’, this is a matter of our survival. We hope the allies will cement this position in the summit’s decisions,” Stefanishyna said.

On a visit to Kyiv in April 2024, NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg said: “The work we are undertaking now puts you on an irreversible path towards NATO membership, so that when the time is right, Ukraine can become a NATO member straightaway.”

When asked earlier this month about the possible outcomes for Ukraine from the upcoming NATO Washington summit, Stoltenberg said he expects the allies “to agree strong language on membership.” “I expect that that language will be even clearer in our commitment that Ukraine will become a member of the alliance,” he added.

EU countries agree on 14th package of sanctions against Russia

The European Union agreed on Thursday to slap a new raft of sanctions against Russia, targeting for the first time supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG), Euronews said on Thursday.

The package is the result of protracted negotiations among ambassadors, who spent weeks haggling over highly technical details. The approval was delayed several times over the reservations voiced by several countries, including Hungary, which had previously vowed to block any sanctions in the energy sector. However, the last hold-out was Germany over the “no Russia clause,” which imposes obligations on companies to keep sensitive goods away from the Kremlin.

Brussels missed two self-imposed deadlines – the G7 in Italy and the Peace Summit in Switzerland – to give Germany more time to work things out. On Thursday morning, the country signalled its concerns had been satisfied, paving the way for the deal.

The LNG clampdown, though, falls short of an all-out import ban like the bloc previously did with coal and seaborne oil, two of Moscow’s largest sources of revenues.

Instead, EU companies will still be allowed to purchase Russian LNG but be prohibited from re-exporting it to other countries, a practice known as trans-shipment.

The Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), an independent organisation that tracks Russian fossil fuels, estimates that in 2023 the bloc paid €8.3 billion for 20 billion cubic metres (bcm) of Russian LNG, representing 5% of the total gas consumption.

Belgium, France and Spain were the main entry points for Russian LNG.

About 22% of these supplies (4.4 bcm) were trans-shipped globally, with 1.6 bcm sent to other member states, CREA says. The rest went to China, India, Turkey and other clients.

The figures reflect the West’s leading role in cargo insurance and shipping services: last year, the maritime industry of G7 countries handled 93% of Russia’s LNG exports, a transport valued at €15.5 billion.

The new EU sanctions intend to curb this lucrative business and constrain Russia’s ability to raise funding for its expensive all-out war on Ukraine. The penalties also target three LNG projects based in Russia that are not yet operational, which Reuters has previously identified as Arctic LNG 2, Ust Luga and Murmansk.

Additionally, member states agreed on stricter measures to crack down on circumvention and close loopholes left open in the 13 previous packages of sanctions, a perennial headache in Brussels.

Some of these measures are directed at the “shadow fleet” of aging, small-sized tankers that the Kremlin employs to bypass the G7 price cap on Russian seaborne oil. Despite the $60-per-barrel limitation, Russia has spent the last few months selling its Urals oil at a price range of between $67 and $75 apiece.

If not NATO, then who? Securing Ukraine’s future. Ukraine in Flames #627

In this episode of Ukraine in Flames, we talk about Ukraine’s future beyond NATO, exploring crucial security guarantees and potential alliances. Featuring insights from experts, Valeriy Chaly and Pavlo Klimkin, the episode underscores Ukraine’s search for international support and innovative defense solutions in order to secure its future, future investments and Europes current safety. Watch UIF #625 to learn more about whether there is another option rather than NATO and how a NATO-Ukraine alliance may look in the coming future.


  • Valeriy Chaly, Chairman of the Board of Directors of UCMC, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary 
  • Pavlo Klimkin, Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine in 2014-2019