Kyiv has? Every right to be critical? of the bloc are dragging their feet on membership, the official said
Ukraine “has not abandoned” its intention to join NATO, said Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration Olga Stefanishyna, while criticizing the US-led bloc for its “hesitation”.
In an interview with El Pais on Tuesday, Stefanishyna claimed that NATO’s reluctance to recognize Ukraine, which received an invitation from the organization in 2008, led to the current military conflict with Moscow and led Russian President Vladimir Putin “to where he is now”.
“Sweden and Finland will become members of NATO as soon as possible. But I can tell you with certainty that if these countries waited another 15 years for their membership decision, they would also be in a state of war,” the Deputy Prime Minister said, referring to to the recent decisions of the Swedish and Finnish governments to reconsider their long-standing alliance freedom policy in the midst of Russian actions in Ukraine.
“We hear the constant message that [NATO] do not want to tease Russia when there is war in my country and thousands of civilians have been killed. It frustrates large parts of society “, said Stefanishyna.
She added that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has “every right to be critical” of the “frustrating” messages from NATO leaders.
Moscow, which has long seen NATO’s expansion to the east as a direct threat to its security interests, in February cited a possible accession of Ukraine as one of the main reasons for its decision to launch a military attack.
Ukraine has consistently asked NATO nations to impose a no-fly zone over its territory or provide it with fighter jets, even though requests have been rejected, prompting criticism from Zelensky. In the past, Kyiv has also signaled that it will give up its NATO ambitions and agree on a neutral status favored by Russia in exchange for security guarantees, which have not been officially offered so far.
In the extensive conversation, Stefanishyna revealed that Kyiv would submit the second part of the questionnaire about its application for EU membership this week.
She also called on Western countries to prioritize “strategic” decisions over “tactical” ones by imposing the toughest possible sanctions on Moscow.
“Every time we hear statements from European leaders that they made the decision to pay [Russia] in rubles or not being prepared to refuse their gas, we treat it as a tactical loss “, she said, arguing that such concessions mean that these countries can not” strategically “call Russia” an aggressor “or to admit that” incredible crimes “.” is underway in Ukraine.
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, which were first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s final recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. The German and French mediated Minsk Protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions a special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kyiv insists that the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims that it planned to retake the two republics by force.
Western countries have responded to Moscow’s actions by imposing harsh sanctions. The Russian government, which considers the measures illegal and unjustified, has reacted by imposing its own sanctions on “unfriendly states”. The requirement to pay for natural gas deliveries in rubles has been one of the countermeasures.