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2 Mar, 2022 08:07

Ukraine demands security guarantees from NATO

The US and its allies must provide “legal” assurances that Ukraine is safe, even if it’s not in NATO, President Zelensky has said
Ukraine demands security guarantees from NATO

Even if the West is currently not in a position to grant Kiev NATO membership, it must still make sure the country is “completely safe,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has insisted.

“Our partners, if they are not ready to take Ukraine into NATO… because Russia does not want Ukraine to be in NATO, should work out common security guarantees for Ukraine,” Zelensky told Reuters and CNN on Tuesday amid an ongoing invasion by Moscow.

Those ‘security guarantees’ are needed to ensure that “our territorial integrity, that our borders are protected, we have special relations with all our neighbors, we are completely safe,” he clarified.

According to Zelensky, the countries that would become “the guarantors that give us security” should “legally” provide such assurances to Kiev.

Speaking from what Reuters described as “a heavily guarded government compound” in the country’s capital, the Ukrainian leader has also praised the West for sending weapons to Kiev and slapping new sanctions on Moscow.

However, he called on the US and its allies to do even more, including by imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine. Zelensky reiterated the call for airspace over his country to be shut, despite acknowledging that US President Joe Biden had earlier told him it wasn’t the time to introduce such a measure.

“This is not about dragging NATO countries into war. The truth is everyone has long since been dragged into war and definitely not by Ukraine, but by Russia,” he claimed.

Last year, Moscow had also asked Washington to provide written security guarantees that NATO wouldn’t be expanding into Ukraine and Georgia – a prospect seen as a major threat by Moscow. It also urged the American-led military bloc to scale back its provocative military activities near Russian borders. But the US declined to meet Russia’s demands.

Russian troops were sent to Ukraine last week as part of a special operation to demilitarize and “denazify” the government in Kiev in response to a “genocide” perpetrated in the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.

Moscow has insisted that it isn’t targeting civilians, and is only striking Ukrainian military installations. Kiev has accused Moscow of carrying out an unprovoked invasion.