Neutral and non-aligned status did not save Ukraine from Russia’s armed aggression in 2014, so Kyiv is seeking to join NATO, which is a guarantee of freedom and security.
This was the answer of the Ambassador of Ukraine to Austria Vasyl Khiminets in an interview with the publication Crown newspaper, Ukrinform reports.
“Putin’s aggressive policy has already forced a neutral country like Sweden and Finland to think about joining NATO. We were more or less neutral and non-aligned. And what did it bring us? Putin annexed Crimea and bought parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions,” he said. said Khiminets.
He also pointed out that when some Austrian politicians “demand that we show understanding about Putin and his concerns about defense weapons or NATO’s presence in Ukraine,” such statements in Ukraine are “harmful.” “We need to stop taking a stand on Putin’s appeasement,” the diplomat said.
According to him, the foreign policy course is the sovereign right of every state, and Ukraine must determine where and how to move. “Whether we want to become a member of the EU or NATO is our business and that of the relevant members. Not Putin,” he said.
The ambassador also noted that NATO is a defense alliance. “The history of security clearly shows that NATO is a guarantee of freedom and delivery. And Ukrainians want to live in freedom, peace and prosperity. Given the security threats to Europe from Russia, I think it was wise for Europe to discuss the risks of Ukraine’s non-EU accession.” – said Khiminets.
At the same time, the ambassador stressed that the situation on the Ukrainian border, where Russia has deployed more than 100,000, should be taken seriously. military, as signs point to escalation and probable attack. According to him, Ukraine is working closely with its partners to de-escalate. “Ukraine wants peace. Our partners also want peace and security in Europe. These are our common interests,” he said.
The diplomat also mentioned the readiness of the United States, the EU and other partners of Ukraine to impose “painful economic sanctions” in the event of further Russian invasion of Ukraine. Ukrainians are also defending their homeland, so “for Putin, this is a military action, and other measures will inevitably have very serious consequences,” he said.
The ambassador noted that “we need defensive weapons to protect ourselves.”
As reported, on December 22, 2021, the Secretary of the NBO Alexei Danilov said that near the borders of Ukraine at a distance of 200 km is 122 thousand Russian troops, at a distance of 400 km 143.5 thousand.