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17 Apr, 2024 00:48

NATO member explains why it will block Ukraine from joining

Kiev’s accession would risk a global war, Slovakia’s prime minister has warned
NATO member explains why it will block Ukraine from joining

The risks of a global war will only increase if Ukraine becomes part of NATO, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico warned on Tuesday, promising that his country will block Kiev’s attempt to join. 

Accepting new countries into the US-led military bloc requires unanimous consent from all of its 32 current members. If Ukraine is invited, Slovakia’s parliament will not ratify the accession treaty, Fico insisted. 

“Slovakia needs a neutral Ukraine. Our interests will be threatened if it becomes a NATO member state because that is the basis of a large world conflict,” the prime minister explained, as quoted by the Noviny.sk news website. 

Fico stressed that he will not bow to any outside pressure. “Our partners abroad have been taught that whatever they ask and request from Slovakia, they will automatically get it. But we are a sovereign and self-confident country,” he stated. 

Slovakia, together with neighboring Hungary, has warned that the EU should not be dragged into the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and has insisted on a diplomatic resolution. After becoming prime minister in October 2023, Fico reversed the previous government’s decision to send weapons to Kiev. He also fiercely opposes sending NATO troops to Ukraine.

Ukraine formally applied to join NATO in September 2022. Although US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated this month that Ukraine “will become a member of NATO” sometime in the future, the bloc has so far refused to commit to a specific timetable or provide a clear pathway for Kiev’s accession. US President Joe Biden and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg have ruled out Ukrainian membership until the fighting with Russia ends.

Moscow has repeatedly stressed that it views NATO’s continuing eastward expansion as a national security threat. Russia cited the bloc’s military cooperation with Ukraine as one of the root causes of the current conflict and described Kiev’s potential accession as a “red line.”