With an estimated 85,000 Russian troops massed on Ukraines eastern border, it is only to be expected that Kiev should be keen to revive interest in the country joining the Nato alliance. In a phone call with Jens Stoltenberg, Natos secretary-general, Ukraines comedian-turned-president, Volodymyr Zelensky, argued that a Nato declaration in support of his country would send a signal to the Kremlin to desist from its bully-boy tactics.
Unfortunately, if the recent history of the region is anything to go by, such a move by Nato leaders is more likely to have the opposite effect on Russian President Vladimir Putin, and lead him to adopt an even more aggressive posture, one that could easily result in open conflict. It was, after all, the Kremlins deepening concerns over Ukraines courtship of Nato that resulted in Russias invasion and illegal annexation of the Crimea, home to Moscows Black Sea fleet, in 2014, as well as supporting separatist rebels in the Donbas region.
So far as Russia is concerned, the prospect of a country like Ukraine, the former Soviet state that Moscow has long viewed as its Little Russia, becoming a member of Nato is simply a step too far. Having seen Nato swallow up the majority of former Soviet satellite states in Europe, the Kremlin believes it has an understanding with the alliance not to expand any further eastwards to Russias borders.
It is for this reason that Russia reacted angrily to former US President George W Bushs initiative to try to bring both Georgia and Ukraine into the alliance, a move that prompted Russias military intervention in the Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in 2008, and has led to the Kremlins persistent interference in Ukraines political discourse.
Even so, with Western leaders adopting an increasingly combative position towards Mr Putins latest acts of military aggression, it is only natural that Ukraines predicament should evoke declarations of support.
Having previously denounced Mr Putin as a killer, Joe Biden has dispatched two American warships to the Black Sea as a deterrent against further acts of Russian intimidation. Britain, which last year signed a new strategic partnership with Ukraine, continues to train and conduct joint exercises with its troops. Foreign ministers of the G7 group of countries Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the US issued a statement this week denouncing the large ongoing build-up of Russian military forces on Ukraines borders and in illegally-annexed Crimea.
In such circumstances, Mr Zelensky has every reason to expect that Kievs pursuit of Nato membership might receive a favourable reception, especially in Europe. But while there is undoubtedly a groundswell of sympathy towards Kievs plight, there has been a more muted response to Mr Zelenskys call for Nato to back Ukraines membership action plan the first formal step towards joining the alliance.
Part of the reticence is due to the deep divisions that continue to undermine efforts by European leaders to present a united front in the face of persistent Russian antagonism. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron have responded by speaking directly with Mr Putin to resolve the crisis, a move that will hardly inspire Kiev with confidence.
Another important consideration for resisting Ukraines desire to pursue Nato membership is that, despite recent efforts by Mr Zelensky to tackle Kievs corrupt political system, the country remains after Russia the second most corrupt country in Europe.
Mr Zelenskys decision last month to strip a leading pro-Russian oligarch of three television stations is said to have been one of the reasons why Mr Putin, who relies on the stations to provide pro-Kremlin propaganda, has initiated his latest military build-up.
None the less, Ukraine has a long way to go before it will be able to develop the depth and breadth of democratic institutions that would justify its acceptance into the Nato fold.
Natos willingness in the past to tolerate members with questionable democratic credentials is already causing the alliance immense difficulties. It means that countries like Turkey, which under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been instrumental in aiding the emergence of Islamist terror groups, enjoy the same status as fully functioning Western democracies.
If Nato really wants to show its relevance for the twenty-first century, then its interests would be far better served by seeking to forge alliances with other like-minded democratic nations around the globe instead of quasi-failed states like Ukraine.
Upholding Ukraines territorial integrity in the face of Russian aggression is an important principle, especially when China is throwing its weight around in the South China Sea and menacing Taiwan.
By the same token, however, it is important that Nato leaders do not allow their commitment to defending international law to result in granting membership to yet another country with a dubious democratic record.