Russia urges NATO to formally drop Ukraine & Georgia ascension plans
Russia has called upon NATO to publicly reverse its previously stated intent to take former Soviet states Ukraine and Georgia into its ranks, arguing that doing so would benefit the “fundamental interests of European security.”
The Foreign Ministry in Moscow expanded on the idea of a comprehensive security deal with the West on Thursday and released a lengthy statement on Friday.
The idea of the agreement is that it should provide concrete, legally-binding guarantees for multiple parties in Europe. It was first floated by President Vladimir Putin earlier this month.
For Russia, the eastward expansion of NATO remains among its top security concerns, with Moscow repeatedly calling the possibility of Ukraine joining the alliance completely unacceptable.
The ongoing process designed “to draw Ukraine into NATO” is likely to result in missiles and other “destabilizing weaponry” being deployed in the country, the foreign ministry warned.
“Such irresponsible behavior creates unacceptable threats to our security, provokes serious military risks for all parties involved, up to a large-scale conflict in Europe," the statement outlined.
While the bloc has repeatedly claimed that the “question of Ukraine’s hypothetical NATO membership concerns exclusively Kiev and the alliance,” these plans actually violate the bloc’s own obligations, Russian diplomats pointed out.
The US-led organisation is bound by other obligations alongside its founding treaty, including those under the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) framework.
These conventions – namely the fundamental principle of indivisible security in Europe – contradict NATO's expansion process, the ministry claimed. The principle has been upheld by multiple international treaties, including the 1999 Charter for European Security, which explicitly states that the signees “will not strengthen their security at the expense of the security of other States,” the ministry added.
“In the fundamental interests of European security, it is necessary to formally disavow the decision of the 2008 NATO Bucharest summit that ‘Ukraine and Georgia will become NATO members’ as it contradicts the commitment of the leaders of all OSCE participating states,” the statement reads.
Moscow’s call, however, has been swiftly rejected by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
“NATO’s position when it comes to our relationship with Ukraine remains unchanged, it is a fundamental principle that every nation has the right to choose its own path … including what kind of security arrangements it wants to be part of,” Stoltenberg told reporters.
A similar remark was made by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, who bemoaned certain “barriers” on the country’s rocky path to gaining membership of the bloc.
“We continue on our way to NATO. We go, and there is a barrier. Do we see it or not? Or do we care? Let's get around the barrier? But we can't get around,” Zelensky told local media.