Russia: “Ukraine will never join NATO”

The war in Ukraine

Published 20 June 2024
- By Editorial Staff
Volodymyr Zelenskyj and Jens Stoltenberg.

Ukraine will never become a member of NATO, according to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. He says the alliance’s conditions for membership are unrealistic and warns the US-led military organization not to repeat its past mistakes.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has said that Ukraine will never become a member of the US-led military alliance. His comment comes against the backdrop of Jens Stoltenberg’s statement last week that Ukraine must first defeat Russia on the battlefield before membership can be discussed.

– There is no membership issue to be discussed unless Kiev defeats Moscow on the battlefield. We need to ensure that Ukraine prevails, that’s an absolute minimum for Ukraine to become a member of the alliance, Stoltenberg said.

Sergei Ryabkov reacted strongly to the statement: “This means this will never happen. I hope Mr. Stoltenberg understands this”, he told the TASS news agency.

He recalled the 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest, where the alliance promised that Ukraine would one day become a member. According to Ryabkov, this was a “big mistake” which “contributed to the current crisis.

– This became the trigger for much of the entire crisis that we are observing today. If Nato members are ready to fall into the same trap again and history teaches them nothing, then they will get hit again and their bruises will get worse, he said, reiterating that NATO membership for Ukraine is “out of the question”.

Next peace terms tougher

For nearly two decades, Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that NATO expansion “undermines Russia’s national security.”

Last week, he signaled that Moscow would consider a cease-fire and begin negotiations if Kiev withdrew its troops from the disputed regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as Kherson and Zaporizhzhya. He made clear that a lasting peace would require Ukraine to commit to neutrality and abandon its NATO ambitions.

Both Kiev and NATO rejected Putin’s offer as an “unacceptable ultimatum”. But Russia’s foreign intelligence chief, Sergei Naryshkin, said Ukraine would be wise to accept the offer.

– The next terms under which a ceasefire can be achieved and some kind of peace agreement signed will be tougher with regard to Ukraine, he warned.

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