White House denies discussions about Ukraine’s joining NATO in exchange for ceding territory

17 August, 11:14 AM
John Kirby (Photo:REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo)

John Kirby (Photo:REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo)

The White House is not discussing any idea of Ukraine’s possible accession to NATO in exchange for ceding parts of its sovereign territory to Russia, White House National Security spokesman John Kirby said at a press briefing on Aug. 16.

“There’s nothing to that. That’s not accurate,” the official said.

The United States has already talked about trying to help Ukraine find a path towards membership, Kirby stressed.

“We’ve said publicly that NATO is going to be in Ukraine’s future, and we – at the Vilnius Summit, the alliance stood behind that idea and got behind a notion wherein a pathway can be developed for that eventual membership,” he said.

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“But the focus right now has got to be on helping Ukraine beat back Russian aggression and continue to claw back territory that rightfully belongs to them. And they are. They are making progress every day. Even they have said it’s not going to far or as fast as they would like, but they are making progress. And we’re going to continue to support them.”

Earlier, on Aug. 15, Director of the Private Office of the NATO Secretary General Stian Jenssen said in comments to the media that Ukraine could conceivably become a NATO member in exchange for ceding parts of its sovereign territory to Russia.

A day later he said the comment had been made in error.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry quickly called such statements unacceptable and said that they only play into the hands of the aggressor, Russia.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the head of the President’s Office, said that giving up territories “in exchange” for the NATO umbrella would mean transferring the war to other generations and destroying international law.

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