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30 Nov, 2023 12:06

Ukraine won’t accept NATO compromise deal – FM

Ceding territory to Russia in exchange for membership in the US-led bloc is not an option, Dmitry Kuleba has said
Ukraine won’t accept NATO compromise deal – FM

The idea that Ukraine could cede territories that it lost to Russia in exchange for NATO membership remains unacceptable, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba told journalists on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in Brussels on Wednesday.

The idea has been floated by former senior NATO officials, including ex-Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and ex-Supreme Allied Commander Europe James Stavridis. Kuleba blasted the proposal ahead of a NATO-Ukraine Council of foreign ministers.

Supporters of the plan should tell other nations to make similar concessions, “and if they do so, then I am ready to listen to their arguments,” he said.

The minister also dismissed the notion that there was “fatigue” with the conflict in Western nations, insisting that a shortage of arms deliveries was not related to it.

Last week, the German tabloid Bild claimed that American and German officials wanted Kiev to compromise and hold peace talks with Moscow. As the biggest providers of aid to Ukraine, the two nations are restricting supplies of new weapons to a bare minimum necessary to avoid a full collapse of the Ukrainian army, the newspaper suggested.

Kuleba was asked about the “elephant in the room” during a joint briefing with EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell in Brussels. He mused that “all the right elephants are on our side,” before stressing: “No, I don’t feel any pressure.”

Discussing arms supplies at NATO HQ, the minister said he had “no reason” to believe that Western failure to deliver as much as Kiev expected was due to a “lack of political will.”

“But I do have good reasons to believe that a lot of [technical work] needs to be done to deliver in this area,” he added.

Kuleba noted that out of the 1,000,000 artillery shells that the EU pledged to send to Ukraine in 2023, only some 300,000 have arrived.

Kiev remained firm in its war goals, the minister said, vowing that “nothing will stop us.” He called sponsoring Ukraine instead of sending their own troops to fight Russia a “fair deal” for the West.

“You give us all what we need, we do the fight. We are not asking you to sacrifice your lives,” he described the arrangement.

Moscow has called the Ukraine conflict a US-led proxy war against Russia, in which the Ukrainian people are used as “cannon fodder.” The Russian Defense Ministry has estimated Ukrainian losses in its Western-backed counteroffensive this year at over 100,000 troops.