Ambassador to Britain: Ukraine can be Flexible, but Not Give up NATO to Avoid WarUkraine | February 14, 2022, Monday // 11:52| views
Ukraine may withdraw from NATO membership to avoid war, Ukrainian Ambassador to Britain Vadym Prystaiko told the BBC, Reuters reported, noting that this would be a big concession to Moscow in response to the accumulation of Russian troops on Russia's border with Ukraine.
Ambassador Prystaiko said Ukraine was ready to show “flexibility” in its goal of joining the Alliance. Accession is something that Russian President Vladimir Putin has said would be a signal of war. “We could - especially when we are threatened in this way, blackmailed and encouraged to do so,” Prystaiko said when asked if Kyiv could change its position on NATO membership.
This morning, however, Ukraine's foreign ministry said Prystaiko's words that Kyiv could renounce NATO membership to prevent war had been taken out of context, Ukraine's European Justice newspaper reported.
A little later today, Prystaiko clarified what he meant by his speech to the BBC, Reuters reported. He explained that Ukraine is ready to make concessions to avoid war, but that these concessions are not related to the country's intention to join NATO. The ambassador stressed that Ukraine will not give up its attempts to join the alliance. Prystaiko told the BBC he was grateful for the opportunity to clarify exactly what he meant.
However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs notes that in the name of peace and saving the lives of our citizens, Ukraine is ready for any format of dialogue with countries and international organizations.
“At the same time, Ambassador Prystaiko rightly noted in the interview that the prospect of NATO membership is enshrined in the Ukrainian constitution, but Ukraine is not yet a member of NATO or another security alliance. That is why the issue of security guarantees is becoming key for our country. Of course, the best guarantee would be the immediate accession of Ukraine to the Alliance, but the threats to Ukraine exist here and now, so finding answers to the issues related to guarantees is becoming a major task,” said the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry. Ukraine is not a member of the Alliance, but in 2008 it was promised a chance to join, a step that would lead the US-led alliance to Russia's borders.
Putin said growing ties between Ukraine and NATO could turn it into a launch site for NATO missiles aimed at Russia. According to him, Russia should define “red lines” that should not be crossed to prevent this.
In recent days, Russia has deployed more than 100,000 military and heavy weapons near its border with Ukraine, prompting the United States and its NATO allies to warn that an invasion is imminent. Moscow has denied planning attacks and has identified military maneuvers as exercises, but has written to the Alliance to abandon further eastward expansion, including Ukraine's accession. NATO members rejected the request.
US President Joe Biden spoke yesterday with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky and the two decided to continue diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis, the White House said.
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