Foreign Minister says Euro-Atlantic security will soon be ‘decided in Ukraine’

Amid a Russian military buildup, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called on the United States and Europe to treat Ukraine as part of the West that will never again be dominated by Moscow.

Russia’s buildup near Ukraine’s borders has sparked growing concerns that an invasion is imminent, sparking a flurry of diplomacy amid the drumbeat of war in Europe.

If Russia were to attack Ukraine, the United States and its European allies have sworn crushing economic sanctions and other “serious consequences”, including the strengthening of NATO’s eastern flank.

Although Russia denies planning an attack, Moscow has launched bellicose rhetoric alongside demands for a long list of security guarantees, including pledges that NATO will never admit Ukraine and a meaningful withdrawal from the EU. Eastern European alliance.

Despite Russian threats and scathing rhetoric, Ukraine’s Western partners “continue to help us because they understand that the future of Euro-Atlantic security will be decided in Ukraine in these months, this year,” Kuleba told RFE/RL’s Ukrainian service in an interview. published on January 22.

Kyiv is not a member of NATO and does not benefit from the alliance’s mutual defense pact. But much to Moscow’s anger, it has received significant Western military support since Russia annexed Crimea and began backing separatists in eastern Ukraine in 2014.

To help Ukraine repel further Russian aggression, the United States, Britain and NATO’s Baltic states have in recent days stepped up new military aid to Ukraine, including anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles. Several other NATO members could follow suit.

Ukraine hopes to one day join NATO and the EU, a prospect that even the United States and European states admit is a long way off due to the simmering conflict in eastern Ukraine, a democratic deficit and entrenched corruption.

“The likelihood of Ukraine joining NATO in the short term is not very likely, based on a lot more work it needs to do in terms of democracy and a few other things going on there,” said US President Joe Biden. noted at a press conference on January 19.

Although the prospects for Ukraine’s integration into major Western institutions are not on the horizon, the West says that most Russian dictates on overhauling Europe’s security architecture are failures.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on January 23 summed up the West’s position rejecting Moscow’s demands for NATO enlargement.

“At the moment, the membership of other Eastern European countries in NATO is not on the agenda at all. What is the point of the Russian request? There can be no such guaranteed,” Scholz told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

Scholz said Europe’s security and cooperation in Europe would only work without the idea of ​​zones of influence in which countries would be unable to decide their own positions.

Addressing ongoing tensions in eastern Ukraine and Russian aggression, Kuleba said the West must see “Ukraine as an important and self-sufficient part of the West.”

“This conflict started by Russia against Ukraine will only end when the West sends a very simple message to Russia: Ukraine is not only a country that we support; it is part of our world, she’s one of ours, and she never will come back to you,” he said.

The West has repeatedly said it wants diplomacy, but with entrenched positions on both sides, back-to-back talks between Western and Russian officials in Geneva, Brussels and Vienna this month yielded no breakthrough.

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