The German chancellor said the row between Russia and the West is potentially dangerous but can be resolved
NATO currently has no plans to admit Ukraine as a member despite Moscow’s demands that the US-led military bloc pledge not to expand further towards its borders, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said amid a worsening standoff between the two former Soviet republics.
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Berlin’s top politician said that “Russia has made the issue of Ukraine’s possible NATO membership a casus belli,” effectively making it a pretext for war if Kiev’s ambitions to join up were granted.
According to him, this position is “a paradox because there is no decision on this on the agenda.” As a result, Scholz continued, an attack on Ukraine would be a “serious mistake” with high “political, economic and geo-strategic costs.”
Western leaders have been warning for weeks that Moscow could order an invasion of its neighbor, citing reports that more than 100,000 Russian troops are massed on the shared border. The Kremlin has consistently denied it has any aggressive intentions and has dismissed American and British intelligence reports as “hysteria.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously accused NATO of breaching a pledge not to expand into the former Soviet space after the fall of the USSR. “Now look at what happened. They cheated us. Vehemently. Blatantly. NATO is expanding. They’re in Poland. They have offensive weapons there. That’s what I’m talking about,” he said. The bloc’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, has insisted that no such assurances were ever given and maintained that it has an “open door policy.”
Moscow’s requests for written guarantees that NATO would not admit any more former Soviet states and would refrain from activity on the territory of its neighbors were rejected earlier this month, with Western officials saying only that they would negotiate on issues of transparency and arms reduction in an effort to calm spiraling tensions.
However, last April, Ulrike Demmer, then former German chancellor Angela Merkel’s deputy spokesperson, said that “as you know, with regard to new members, NATO generally follows an open door policy,” she said. “Ukraine has a right of free choice and its own political needs. However, no further steps towards its membership are currently envisaged.”
https://ift.tt/wRAZ2ps 19, 2022 at 05:22PM
from RT – Daily news