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18 Jan, 2024 16:55

West offering Ukraine 'half-baked' defense promises – Lavrov

The US-led collective doesn’t truly wish to see Kiev become a member of NATO or the EU, the Russian foreign minister has suggested
West offering Ukraine 'half-baked' defense promises – Lavrov

Western promises to Ukraine are “half-baked” and do not actually include any legal obligations to Kiev, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said during a press conference on Thursday. He was speaking several days after Ukraine signed a bilateral security cooperation agreement with the UK.

Addressing an event dedicated to the results of Russian diplomacy in 2023, Lavrov claimed that, despite signing defense agreements with Kiev, Western countries do not truly wish to see Ukraine become a full-fledged member of NATO or the European Union. 

The minister pointed to the numerous clashes between Western countries in regard to Kiev’s membership in the two blocs, noting that many member states of these organizations believe its potential accession to be a “pointless, reckless and risky step for European security.”

As for the “historic” security deal with the UK, Lavrov noted that, as far as he knows, these documents, which were signed by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last Friday, do not contain any actual legal obligations for London to defend Kiev. Ukraine, meanwhile, would be obliged to defend the UK if anyone were to attack its islands, Russia’s top diplomat said.

“I did not see any legally binding provisions in this document, except that Ukraine will have to stand up for Britain,” Lavrov said, calling such a scenario a “joke.”

Lavrov went on to state that Moscow has no objections to other countries signing agreements with Ukraine, but stressed that such accords would not change the goals of Russia’s military operation, noting that Russia will achieve these goals “consistently and persistently.”

On January 12, Ukraine and the UK announced the signing of a security agreement under which the two countries pledge to defend each other if their territories are ever attacked. The pact also stipulates support for Ukraine’s future integration into NATO and guarantees “prevention and active deterrence of, and counter measures against, any military escalation and/or a new aggression by the Russian Federation.” London has also pledged to supply Kiev with £2.5 billion ($3.2 billion) in military assistance over the next financial year.

Moscow, meanwhile, has said it would consider any deployment of British troops to Ukraine as a “declaration of war,” as per former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has also stated that the agreement serves as proof that London still has a firm grip on Kiev’s government and is actively working to prevent peace in the country while turning it into a “bargaining chip.”