Ukraine could drop NATO bid to avoid war: Official
Ukraine could drop its bid to join NATO to avoid war with Russia, the BBC quoted the country’s ambassador to Britain as saying, in what would amount to a major concession to Moscow in response to the build-up of Russian troops on its borders.
Ambassador Vadym Prystaiko told the BBC Ukraine was willing to be “flexible” over its goal to join the Atlantic military alliance, a move Russian President Vladimir Putin has said would be a trigger for war.
“We might – especially being threatened like that, blackmailed by that, and pushed to it,” Prystaiko was quoted as saying when asked if Kyiv could change its position on NATO membership.
Ukraine seeks meeting with Russia
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Facebook late Sunday that Russia had ignored Kyiv’s formal request for an explanation about why Moscow had positioned more than 100,000 troops and advanced weapons around Ukraine.
“Ukraine is convening a meeting with Russia and all member states in the next 48 hours to discuss the reinforcement and movement of Russian forces along our border,” he wrote.
Russia has moved more than 100,000 troops and heavy weapons to within striking distance of Ukraine in recent weeks, prompting the United States and its NATO allies to warn that an invasion could be imminent.
Moscow denies it is planning an attack, calling the military manoeuvres exercises, but it has issued written demands that NATO forgoes any further expansion eastwards including Ukraine. NATO members have rejected the demand.
The 1990 Vienna Document requires the 57 members of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to share information about their military forces and notify each other about major activities.
Ukraine is not a NATO member but has a promise dating from 2008 that it will eventually be given the opportunity to join, a step that would bring the U.S.-led alliance to Russia’s border.
Putin says Ukraine’s growing ties with the alliance could make it a launchpad for NATO missiles targeted at Russia. He says Russia needs to lay down “red lines to prevent that.
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