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10 May, 2023 19:39

EU’s Borrell rebukes NATO head 

Kiev’s membership is “not on the table,” Brussels’ foreign policy chief has said
EU’s Borrell rebukes NATO head 

Ukraine joining NATO is far from a done deal, EU foreign policy commissioner Josep Borrell said in an interview on Wednesday. The Spanish politician was commenting on a statement made by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that all members of the US-led military bloc had agreed Kiev would join – just not when.

“This does not depend on the NATO secretary general, but on NATO member countries,” Borrell told the Spanish TV channel La Sexta

Ukraine’s membership “is not on the table,” Borrell said, adding that Kiev had asked to join long ago, and was told that this was not under consideration. The EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy also said that “there have never been NATO missiles in Ukraine.”

In an interview published on Tuesday, Stoltenberg told the Washington Post that “all” members of the bloc agree Ukraine will become a member, but “the question is when, and I cannot give you a timetable on that.” 

Stoltenberg added that the discussion will be moot “if Ukraine doesn’t prevail” in the conflict with Russia, so NATO must continue to support Kiev – while insisting it is not a party to the hostilities.

Borrell echoed that sentiment on Wednesday, telling La Sexta that Kiev would “surrender in a few days” if the West stopped supplying it with military aid. The war would end, he said, but not in the way the EU and the US wanted.

The Ukrainian government quickly objected to Borrell’s claim. The conflict would not end but spill over to “other territories,” tweeted President Vladimir Zelensky’s aide, Mikhail Podoliak, without elaborating on whether that was a warning or a threat.

After the US-backed coup in February 2014, the new government in Kiev abandoned Ukraine’s traditional neutrality and made joining NATO part of the country’s strategic policy. The US-led bloc has also refused Moscow’s calls to stop expanding, insisting that its “open door policy” is a fundamental principle on which it cannot compromise.