President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky. Photo/REUTERS
KIEV – President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky issued a tough ultimatum to NATO if his demands are not met by the security bloc.
Zelensky in his ultimatum threatened not to attend the NATO meeting in Lithuania in July unless the alliance gave Kyiv the desired security guarantees.
The Financial Times (FT) reported on the matter on Wednesday (31/5/2023), citing people familiar with the matter.
“Zelensky has made clear to NATO leaders that he will not attend the Vilnius summit without real security guarantees and a roadmap for accession,” the paper said.
Ukraine formally applied to join the US-led bloc in September 2022, arguing the collective defense provided to members is necessary for Kyiv’s security against Russia.
Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty stipulates that an armed attack against one NATO member “shall be deemed an attack against them all.”
While Ukraine’s offer was strongly supported by the Nordic and Baltic countries, as well as Poland, French President Emmanuel Macron suggested on Wednesday that Kiev could be offered “something between security provided to Israel and full membership.”
The FT quoted four unnamed officials in April as saying the US and Germany opposed Kiev’s bid for “deeper ties” to the alliance, including a potential roadmap.
“We will be looking at ways to support Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations, but right now the immediate needs in Ukraine are practical so we must focus on building Ukraine’s defense and deterrence capabilities,” said Dereck Hogan, the top US State Department official responsible for foreign affairs. Europe last month.
Lithuanian Prime Minister (PM) Ingrida Simonyte, who will host the NATO event July 11-12, was quoted by Reuters as saying on Friday that it would be “very sad” if anyone could interpret the Vilnius summit result as a “Russian victory”.
Moscow views NATO’s eastward expansion as a threat to its national security and cites the bloc’s open-door policy as a reason for its military conflict with Ukraine.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin said recently that Ukraine’s neutrality is one of the conditions for lasting peace between Ukraine and Russia.