Zelensky Lobbies for Ukrainian Membership in NATO
April 7 , 2021 (EIRNS)—Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is in a flight forward effort to put Ukraine’s entry into NATO on a fast track. On April 6, he spoke by phone to both NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in order to gain their support and a day earlier had spoken to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson with the same aim in mind. During his discussion with Stoltenberg, Zelensky called for a greater NATO presence on the Black Sea, according to the readout published by the Ukrainian presidential office. “Such a permanent presence should be a powerful deterrent to Russia, which continues the large-scale militarization of the region and hinders merchant shipping,” he claimed.
Zelensky stressed, however, that the most urgent issue for Kiev in relations with NATO was the possibility of obtaining the NATO Membership Action Plan. “We are committed to reforming our army and defense sector, but reforms alone will not stop Russia. NATO is the only way to end the war in Donbas. Ukraine’s MAP will be a real signal for Russia,” Zelensky said (emphasis added).
Sen. Vladimir Jabarov, first deputy chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s international affairs committee, told TASS that Zelensky has little chance of getting his country into the alliance. “NATO admits only those countries which have no internal conflicts or conflicts with neighboring states. He [Zelensky] has both an internal conflict, the one in the southeast, and rifts with neighboring countries. He has quarreled with Belarus and is threatening us. May he [will] give up this hope. He will never be in NATO,” Jabarov said.
“If he thinks that NATO will agree to defend him, should he enter into a conflict with Russia, he is very wrong. May he give a call to [Georgia’s former President Mikheil] Saakashvili and ask him for advice. He will tell him how it happens,” Jabarov said. He stressed that the sole way of settling the conflict in Donbas was through the implementation of the Minsk Accords.
“But the Ukrainian authorities have torpedoed all Minsk agreements. Apparently, they are not prepared for this,” he went on. “I suspect that when he makes such statements, Mr. Zelensky has a very poor idea of the implications of NATO’s membership for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. If he really thinks that he will be allowed to take any liberties under NATO’s umbrella, he is very mistaken,”
Jabarov said, and asserting that Ukraine’s southeast would be firmly against this.
In Washington, three different administration press secretaries—at the White House, State Department and the Pentagon—all said, in effect, and in fact at the Pentagon, “no comment” when asked about Zelensky’s lobbying effort.