Ukraine rejects any efforts to get it to scrap its plans to join NATO as well as any “guarantee” sought by Russia to ease tensions on the border, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told on Friday.
Moscow wants to see an end to NATO’s eastward expansion after much of Eastern Europe joined the alliance following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday called on his US counterpart Antony Blinken to provide “security guarantees” that NATO would not come closer to Russia’s borders.
Agreeing to abandon its plans to join the alliance “is not an option” for Kiev, Kuleba told in an interview on the sidelines of an OSCE meeting in Stockholm. “I reject this idea that we have to guarantee anything to Russia. I insist that it’s Russia who has to guarantee that it will not continue its aggression against any country,” he said.
NATO officially opened the door to Ukraine membership in 2008, though no progress has been made since. “It’s absolutely inappropriate for Russia to have any influence on decisions taken by another sovereign country, Ukraine, and another international organisation, NATO,” Kuleba added. He urged the United States and its allies to reject the demands made by Moscow.
“We have a golden rule in Ukrainian diplomacy: no decisions about Ukraine without Ukraine. So if anyone, even our closest friends, decide anything related to Ukraine behind our backs, we will not recognise the decision.”
US President Joe Biden and Russian leader Vladimir Putin are due to hold direct talks in the near future about the Ukraine tensions, almost seven years after Russia annexed Crimea and pro-Russian separatists took control over part of eastern Ukraine.