German foreign minister speaks out against Ukraine joining NATO
Germany's FM, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has said he is against Ukraine joining NATO. In an interview with Der Spiegel, he said he considers “that it is possible for NATO to have a partnership with Ukraine, but not membership.”
He also added that he does not believe it is realistic for Ukraine to join the European Union in the foreseeable future, as the economic and political modernization of Ukraine is a “project for a few generations.”
He also urged Kiev to introduce reforms to fight corruption and mismanagement of the economy, saying they had to start immediately and that there was no time to lose.
Meanwhile, Russia President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said one of the means of changing the balance of power in the world to eventually subdue Russia was NATO’s gradual approach toward its borders, which made Russia “nervous”, he said, speaking to the BBC.
Russia needs a “100 percent guarantee that no one would think about Ukraine joining NATO,” Peskov said.
On Friday, Jeff Rathke, a spokesman for the US State Department, said that Washington supported Ukraine’s ambitions to join NATO, but the final decision should of course be made by Kiev.
Rathke also said that lethal assistance to Ukraine was not yet “off the table.”
“Our position on lethal aid hasn’t changed. Nothing is off the table, and we continue to believe there’s no military solution. But we, in light of Russia’s actions, as the nominee mentioned yesterday in his testimony, this is – as he indicated, this is something that we should be looking at,” Rathke said.