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29 Nov, 2023 18:42

US gives Ukraine a NATO reality check

The State Department chief has commented on when Kiev might join the bloc
US gives Ukraine a NATO reality check

Ukraine will join the NATO only after it meets all conditions and secures the consent of every member, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken repeated on Wednesday when asked about a proposal to fast-track the process.

Blinken and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba made a short press appearance on the sidelines of a NATO ministerial meeting in Brussels, where they painted an optimistic picture of Kiev’s current situation.

“We reaffirm the commitment made in Vilnius that Ukraine will become a member of NATO when allies agree and conditions are met,” Blinken said.

“Ukraine is well on the path of NATO, as well as to the European Union, with the accession process, uh, beginning,” he added.

Kuleba described the meeting with Blinken as “a clear no to fatigue, a clear yes to continued and increased support to Ukraine.”

Blinken was quoting the joint communique from the July summit in Lithuania, which said that NATO “will be in a position to extend an invitation to Ukraine to join the alliance when allies agree and conditions are met.”

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky had reacted to the communique by calling NATO weak and its behavior “unprecedented and absurd,” drawing the ire of Washington.

Earlier this month, former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen – now an adviser to the government in Kiev – proposed admitting Ukraine within the boundaries of territory it currently controls, thereby making it subject to the bloc’s Article 5 security guarantees.

Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andrey Yermak, rejected Rasmussen’s offer within days, saying there could be no compromise on Ukraine’s “independence, territorial integrity, sovereignty.” 

Russia has repeatedly made clear that no form of Ukraine’s membership in NATO would be acceptable to Moscow. Zelensky’s top MP and former head negotiator in Istanbul, David Arakhamia, admitted last week that Kiev could have stopped the conflict in April 2022 by agreeing to the Russian demand for neutrality, but said that the West urged Ukraine to keep fighting.

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