Kuleba to Germany’s Baerbock: We won’t drop our NATO hopes

28 January 2022, 05:01 PM

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has shot back against a statement made by his German counterpart, Annalena Baerbock, who, during an interview with German newspaper WAZ on Jan. 27, stated that Ukraine’s membership in NATO is “…not on the agenda at the moment.”

 In response, Kuleba tweeted that “…bringing prospects for Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration into question is not on the agenda.”

“Germany’s leadership in supporting Ukraine’s membership in NATO, on the contrary, would now be real support for Ukraine. This would be a positive signal for everyone.”

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NATO membership has been a Ukrainian goal explicitly since NATO membership was enshrined in the 2019 Ukrainian constitution, though Ukraine’s history of cooperation with the alliance stretches back to 1994.

Ukrainian nerves have been fraying with regards to Germany, which has refused to supply Ukraine with lethal aid in the face of a looming Russian invasion threat, and has blocked third countries from selling German-made arms to the country.

Germany has defended itself against accusations of lacking support for Ukraine with the country saying that a recent shipment of non-lethal aid, consisting of 5,000 helmets, is a “signal” of German support for Ukraine.

On Dec. 17, Russia issued demands for what it called “security guarantees” from the United States and NATO, including that Ukraine be forbidden from ever becoming a member of the alliance.

Russia’s demands were discussed in different formats: The United States and Russia held a round of crisis talks in Geneva, Switzerland on Jan. 10, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-Russia Council meeting took place in Brussels on Jan. 12, and the OSCE Permanent Council meeting was held in Vienna on Jan. 13.

Following the talks, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Washington is open to more talks, but there would be a severe Western response to further Russian invasion of Ukraine.

He stressed that the United States is ready to defend the right of the Ukrainian people to determine their own future.

NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, in turn, said that the alliance was ready to pursue dialogue with Russia, however it would never compromise on its “open door” policy.

The talks between Moscow and the West took place amid Russia’s military buildup near the borders with Ukraine.

More than 127,000 Russian troops and offensive weapons have been deployed near Ukrainian borders and in the temporarily occupied territories, according to the latest intelligence estimate from the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

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