18:44 GMT15 May 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Germany should be proactive in encouraging Ukraine's swift accession to NATO amid the escalation of the Donbass conflict, Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Andriy Melnyk told the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

    "Germany in particular, as a country that bears special historical responsibility for Nazi crimes against the Ukrainian people, must play a leading role in order for Ukraine to become a NATO member. And as quickly as possible, with no 'ifs' or 'buts'", Melnyk said.

    He added that Ukraine's accession to NATO would prevent a new large-scale war in Europe and claimed that it would not be provocative, and would instead serve as a "cold shower" for Moscow.

    Earlier, Melnyk said that Ukraine needs to consider the possibility of acquiring nuclear status if it does not become a NATO member.

    Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said last week that Ukraine's "hypothetical membership" in NATO could lead to a large-scale escalation in the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in the country's southeast (Donbass) and have an irreversible effect on Ukrainian statehood.

    US soldiers are pictured prior the beginning of the official welcoming ceremony of NATO troops in Orzysz, Poland, on April 13, 2017.
    © AFP 2021 / Wojtek RADWANSKI
    US soldiers are pictured prior the beginning of the official welcoming ceremony of NATO troops in Orzysz, Poland, on April 13, 2017.

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said after phone talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg this month that the war in Donbass could only end if Ukraine joins the military alliance.

    German Deputy Government Spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said on 7 April that further steps towards Ukraine's membership in NATO were not being considered at the moment.

    In February 2019, the Ukrainian parliament approved amendments to the constitution that secured the country's aspirations to join NATO and the "irreversibility of the Euro-Atlantic course". The military doctrine of 2015 also ensured compatibility of the Ukrainian Armed Forces with NATO standards. Since his election in 2019, Zelensky has supported strengthening ties with the Alliance.

    In 2020, NATO recognised Ukraine as an enhanced opportunities partner. This status is given to countries that make significant contributions to NATO operations and missions.

    Tags:
    Germany, Ukraine, NATO, NATO
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