Germany reveals chances of Ukraine joining NATO
NATO will not expand to include Ukraine in the near future, and therefore there is no point even discussing it when considering the future of security in Europe, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Thursday.
Speaking to Germany’s Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, Berlin’s top diplomat revealed that, during her recent trip to Moscow, she spent a long time arguing over Ukraine with her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, and tried to convince him that talking about NATO expansion was a waste of time.
Last month, Russia publicly released two draft treaties it had proposed to the US and NATO. Both documents included a long list of security guarantees aimed at boosting stability in Europe. Among other things, Moscow wants Brussels to agree to abandon NATO expansion and remove troops from the vicinity of the Russian border. In response, both Washington and Brussels revealed that they would be happy to come to an agreement on military and missile placement but ruled out a legally binding promise to end the enlargement of NATO.
“At the moment, there is no eastward expansion of NATO on the agenda at all,” Baerbock told the Essen-based outlet. “In Moscow, I had a long discussion with the Russian foreign minister about this exact thing.”
According to Baerbock, international law and other agreements made by the US-led bloc mean that NATO can not legally agree to ban Ukraine from joining, but the chances of it happening soon are non-existent.
In the German foreign minister’s opinion, it is much more important to establish a constructive dialogue about the situation in eastern Ukraine, rather than to constantly focus on NATO.
“People in Ukraine want to live in peace and security,” she stated. “Many have been separated from their families for years by the conflict in the Donbass. That is what this is all about – not imminent NATO accession.”
Baerbock met with Lavrov in Moscow last week amid increasing tensions on Russia’s border with Ukraine. Moscow stands accused of placing 100,000 troops on the frontier, with some claiming that the Kremlin is planning an attack. This claim has been repeatedly denied.