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16 Jul, 2021 13:35

German Chancellor Merkel has sold out Kiev in exchange for 'favor of Russia,' says advisor to Ukrainian President Zelensky's team

German Chancellor Merkel has sold out Kiev in exchange for 'favor of Russia,' says advisor to Ukrainian President Zelensky's team

A Ukrainian official has slammed politicians in Berlin and Washington for failing to stand by his country and support it on a range of major geopolitical issues that, he believes, are putting it on a collision course with Russia.

Alexey Arestovich, an adviser to the team negotiating over the future of the war-torn Donbass region and counsellor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, told news channel Ukraine 24 on Friday that negotiations with Germany's leadership had been fruitless.

According to him, long-standing commitments to Ukraine have been quietly dropped. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he said, "held out for seven years, but in the end she pretty-much gave up her Ukrainian interests in favor of Russia."

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Arestovich added that the two sides had failed to find common ground over issues like the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is backed by Moscow and will link the gas fields of Siberia to consumers in Western Europe via an underwater pipeline that will terminate in northern Germany. Kiev has repeatedly expressed concern that it stands to lose millions of dollars in transit fees if supplies are no longer moved through the Soviet-era network of pipes that span its territory.

"As I understand it, the Germans call this the protection of German national interests," he said. "The price can be heavy for Ukraine." Arestovich also expressed disappointment in what he saw as a similar approach from Washington, saying that "even in Biden's entourage, such people can be found."

READ MORE: NATO has an open door policy, but Ukraine unlikely to walk through it any time soon, German officials say amid Donbass escalations

Zelensky has repeatedly expressed frustration over the perceived lack of support for his country's membership of the US-led NATO military bloc. On Tuesday, the French Ambassador in Kiev, Etienne de Poncins, said that "there was no consensus among the members" to begin the process of admitting Ukraine, and that at present its aspirations were "unrealistic."

Ulrike Demmer, Merkel’s deputy spokesperson, told reporters in April that the question of Ukraine’s accession to the bloc was not currently on the table. “As you know, with regard to new members NATO generally follows an open-door policy,” she said. “Ukraine has a right of free choice and its own political needs. However, no further steps towards its membership are currently envisaged.”

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