NATO has refused in private to accept Ukraine but, publicly, has maintained such a prospect, the country’s president has claimed
FILE PHOTO. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gestures toward Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky. © AP / Olivier Matthys
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky revealed the true stance of the US-led NATO alliance on Kiev’s prospects of joining, in an interview with CNN on Sunday. While refusing in private to accept the country, the alliance has maintained a public illusion of a potential accession, he claimed.
The ongoing conflict with Russia could have been prevented if NATO accepted Ukraine in time, Zelensky has also said.
“If we were a NATO member, a war wouldn’t have started. I’d like to receive security guarantees for my country, for my people,” Zelensky told CNN, reiterating his calls on the US-led alliance to take his country in.
“If NATO members are ready to see us in the alliance, then do it immediately, because people are dying on a daily basis… If you want to see us in this dubious position where we don’t understand whether you can accept us or not – you cannot place us in this situation, you cannot force us to be in this limbo.”
While the alliance has publicly recognized Ukraine as its “special partner,” its stance in private has been quite different, Zelensky revealed.
I requested them personally to say directly that we are going to accept you into NATO in a year or two or five, just say it directly and clearly, or just say no. And the response was very clear, you’re not going to be a NATO member, but publicly, the doors will remain open.
Top Ukrainian officials, including Zelensky himself, have repeatedly reiterated the country’s NATO aspirations. The ambitions even got incorporated into Ukraine’s constitution in 2019 under then-President Petro Poroshenko. NATO itself appeared to have been welcoming towards such aspirations, formally recognizing them in the 2008 Bucharest Summit Declaration, when the bloc’s members agreed the country would eventually become a member.