At the NATO summit in Bucharest in April 2008, Germany, along with France and several other NATO members, expressed reservations about extending Membership Action Plans (MAPs) to Ukraine and Georgia. Angela Merkel’s cautious stance was due to concerns about provoking Russia and exacerbating tensions in the region. Aaron Burnett of the German news outlet The Local notes that Merkel defends her position by emphasizing the importance of diplomacy and avoiding actions that could lead to further confrontation with Russia:

Ukraine at the time, was a divided country plagued by oligarchy and corruption, she said, and not prepared to be in NATO. She reasoned that because membership doesn’t happen overnight, Russia’s Vladimir Putin may well have invaded to prevent Ukraine from joining – at a time when it wasn’t ready to defend itself.

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