American Jewish Committee (AJC) is urging NATO to give Ukraine a “clear path” to becoming a member of the alliance to deter further aggression by Russia and other “bad actors” who seek to destabilize Europe.

In a letter prior to the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, on July 11-12, AJC CEO Ted Deutch and AJC President Michael Tichnor described Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as posing a threat to democracy and the international order.

“Welcoming Ukraine into NATO would send a strong signal also to other bad actors, ranging from Pyongyang to Tehran,” the letter states. “If Western nations demonstrate unity and resolve by accepting Ukraine, it would help deter these actors as well and convey a clear message that any aggression or destabilizing behavior will be met with a strong response.”

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, AJC was one of the first organizations to urge the U.S. to recognize the independence of Ukraine and the Baltic states—Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia—and advocated for the Baltic and Central European states to be admitted into NATO. Deutch and Tichnor said NATO should follow suit with Ukraine.

“While critics argue that Ukraine's NATO membership could further escalate tensions with Russia, potentially leading to more conflict, history has shown that the lack of strong action in the face of aggression only emboldens aggressors,” they wrote, “By embracing Ukraine and reinforcing its security, NATO can help deter further Russian aggression and provide a stable framework for dialogue and de-escalation.”

Through advocacy directly to the White House and Congress and diplomatic outreach to governments around the world, AJC has assertively supported Ukraine since the day Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine. AJC has been providing vital humanitarian relief assistance through its #StandWithUkraine Fund.

AJC is the global advocacy organization for the Jewish people. With headquarters in New York, 25 offices across the United States, 14 overseas posts, as well as partnerships with 38 Jewish community organizations worldwide, AJC's mission is to enhance the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel, and to advance human rights and democratic values in the United States and around the world.