Ukraine urges NATO to recognize its central role in European security

Ukraine wants NATO to recognize its central role in European security when alliance leaders meet in Madrid to review its strategy, a senior Kyiv official has told the Financial Times.

Ihor Zhovkva, diplomatic adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said a new version of NATO’s guiding document known as the strategic concept should recognize his country as a “cornerstone” of security arrangements on the continent given its fight against Russian aggression.

“We would like people to understand that Ukraine is a cornerstone of European security,” said Zhovkva, who is also deputy head of the presidential administration.

Ukraine does not formally participate in discussions on NATO’s strategic concept but has sent its proposals to the alliance’s allies.

“If NATO members do not reveal the real situation of what is happening in Europe, in Ukraine, then this document will be another document, absolutely irrelevant,” Zhovkva added.

NATO’s current Strategic Concept, which describes the alliance’s security mission and tasks, was last updated in 2010. Among a series of objectives aimed at promoting European security, it commits NATO to continue to develop its partnership with Ukraine, citing the alliance’s decision at the 2008 Bucharest Summit meeting to welcome Kyiv’s membership aspirations.

While Ukraine recognizes that joining NATO is not an option in the short term, it wants the alliance to reaffirm the partnership.

“NATO members declined our aspirations. We will not do anything else in this regard,” Zhovkva said.

Ukraine also wants any mention of Russia as a partner removed from the strategic concept. The latest version states that NATO seeks “a genuine strategic partnership” with Russia and considers NATO-Russia cooperation to be of strategic importance.

“We are waiting in NATO’s strategic concept. . . there will be stricter and harsher warnings to the Russian aggressor. Do not be shy, this is my appeal to NATO members, formulating the arrangements vis-à-vis Russia,” Zhovkva said.

Zhovkva expected references to Russia to be removed, but said some countries wanted to leave a way for dialogue. He said it was important that the war in Ukraine be described in the documents. “It’s not enough to cross out the word ‘partner’,” he said.

Zelenskyy will address the G7 summit in southern Germany and then the NATO meeting in Spain next week via video link. Zhovkva said the president would reiterate his demand for treaty-based security guarantees from G7 members for Ukraine for the end of the war.

“We need a system of security guarantees for my country,” Zhovkva said. “When the next time the assault will happen or [Russia] will think about aggression again, they and we should understand how the system works.

He said Zelenskyy’s chief of staff was negotiating such guarantees with national security advisers from the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and France. Western diplomats said such talks had not gone far and the details of how they would work remained unclear. Diplomats expect G7 talks in Elmau, Bavaria from Sunday to focus on sanctions.

Ukraine also wants the G7 countries to toughen economic measures against Russia. Zhovkva credited the US and UK for moving quickly with sanctions, but urged the EU to move faster to a seventh set of restrictions.

“We saw how difficult it was with the European Union over the sixth sanctions package, but we want the next package,” he said. “We expect there will also be serious disputes over the issues of this package, certainly the gas embargo for example. »

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