Ukrainian Ambassador to UK Backtracks on His Statement Kiev 'Might' Not Join NATO
06:47 GMT 14.02.2022 (Updated: 09:10 GMT 14.02.2022)
The tensions around Ukraine have been on the rise over the past few months, as Washington, London, and their allies claimed that Russia is planning "an invasion" of the country.
Ukraine's Ambassador to Great Britain Vadym Prystaiko has backtracked on his statement that Kiev "might agree" not to join NATO
if this helps to avert a war with Russia.
"We might - especially being threatened like that, blackmailed by that, and pushed to it", Prystaiko initially told the BBC's Radio 5 Live, commenting on whether his country could change its position on membership in the alliance.
The envoy claimed that Russia already borders NATO members
, saying it "did not change the security situation" for Moscow.
Asked about the membership issue again, Prystaiko noted that "we are flexible trying to get a way out".
"If we have to go through some serious concessions - that's something we might do, that's for sure", he stressed.
But later he corrected himself, stating that Ukraine is ready for many concessions, but they have nothing to do with NATO, and stressing that Kiev won't squash its ambitions to join the organisation, according to Reuters. He also noted Ukraine is looking for additional bilateral agreements with Britain and the US to ensure its security.
The Ukrainian presidential office has since addressed the statement, saying that NATO aspirations are included in the Ukrainian Constitution
, but noted that the ambassador needs to be given an opportunity to elaborate on what exactly he meant regarding membership in the bloc.
Ukraine is not a NATO member, but has a promise dating from a 2008 summit in Bucharest, that the country will eventually be given the opportunity to join. In 2019, Kiev amended the Ukrainian Constitution, setting membership in NATO and the EU as the nation's goals.
The issue of Ukraine's membership in NATO
remains a stumbling block between Russia and the alliance. Moscow previously put forth security guarantee proposals for NATO and the US, suggesting limits on troop and missile deployments and suggesting that the bloc stop expanding near Russia's borders.
Washington, however, ignored this part of the proposals, while NATO refused to abandon its "open-door" policies, saying that Ukraine and Georgia may become part of the alliance.