Wed. May 11th, 2022

Chancellor Scholz says membership “was not and is not” on alliance’s agenda

Not admitting Ukraine and Georgia into NATO was the right decision, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told the TV channel ZDF on Thursday, commenting on the current conflict between Kiev and Russia.

Scholz was apparently referring to the June 2021 summit in Brussels, when NATO endorsed the two former Soviet republics’ right to join in principle, but did not give a timeframe for accession and insisted on both undergoing “reforms” before that could happen.

“That was the correct decision, after very long negotiations within NATO about that issue,” said Scholz, answering ZDF host Maybrit Illner.

Ukraine’s NATO membership is not on the alliance’s agenda today, the chancellor added.

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NATO first embraced the “open-door policy” for former Soviet republics at the Bucharest summit in April 2008 – four months before Georgia attacked the breakaway region of South Ossetia, triggering a Russian intervention. 

In February 2014, a US-backed coup ousted the democratically elected government in Kiev. In December that year, the new government abandoned its commitment to neutrality and changed the Constitution to reflect its aspirations to join both NATO and the European Union (EU).

Russia has cited Ukraine’s NATO aspirations as a “red line” for its national security, offering NATO and the US a proposal for joint European security architecture in December. Both Washington and Brussels said no.

Last week, Moscow ordered its troops into Ukraine to demilitarize and “denazify” the government in Kiev, claiming it was engaged in “genocide” in the breakaway republics of the Donbass. Ukraine has accused Russia of an unprovoked invasion. NATO has agreed with Ukraine’s position and imposed a sweeping blockade of Russia, but publicly pledged not to send troops to fight in Ukraine.