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18 Feb, 2024 01:06

Ukraine ‘dangerous’ for NATO – Italy

The US-led military bloc needs to be prudent about Kiev’s membership bid, the Italian foreign minister has said
Ukraine ‘dangerous’ for NATO – Italy

Granting NATO membership to Ukraine while it is locked in a conflict with Russia is “dangerous for everybody” and could lead to a global war, Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani has said.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Tajani reiterated that NATO is “working on having Ukraine as a member,” but needs to act discreetly instead of making rash decisions in order to “pave the way for achieving these goals.”

“Frankly speaking, it’s dangerous for everybody because you are fighting against Russia and for a full member of NATO this would mean World War III,” the minister said, responding to a question on Ukraine’s potential integration into the bloc.

“We want to back you, but these rules are very clear – if there is an attack against a member of NATO, there is an involvement of NATO and for this we need to be prudent,” he explained, adding that the current state of cooperation between the US-led bloc and Kiev “sends a clear message to Russia.”

NATO first declared that Ukraine would join in 2008. After a Western-backed coup in Kiev in 2014, Ukraine ramped up engagement with the alliance, enshrining membership in its constitution as a strategic goal in 2017. In autumn 2022, it officially applied to join NATO after four former regions overwhelmingly voted to become part of Russia.

In a summit in Vilnius last year, the NATO foreign ministers stated that Ukraine needs to implement “additional democratic and security sector reforms” in order to join the bloc, saying the invitation will only be extended “when Allies agree and conditions are met.”

While the matter is expected to be discussed further at a summit in Washington, DC next July, Foreign Policy magazine reported last month that Washington and Berlin oppose the idea, fearing a full-scale confrontation with Moscow.

Russia views NATO expansion towards its border as a major security threat. President Vladimir Putin has argued that Western powers used Ukraine to antagonize Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. In a recent interview with American journalist Tucker Carlson, Putin called the West’s approach to Ukraine a colossal political mistake, pointing to NATO’s 2008 promise to accept the country into the bloc, as well as the Western-supported coup d’etat in Kiev in 2014.