“The Situation Has Changed”
While Ukraine has made it clear that it is ready to achieve non-bloc and nuclear-free status, the country’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said at a conference in Munich in January that “giving up on nuclear weapons was a mistake”. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reminded this during his meeting with journalists.
“Still, now they (Ukrainian authorities – socialbites.ca) are ready to declare a neutral non-aligned status, while receiving a guarantee outside NATO and other non-political blocs. But at the same time, they try in every possible way to emphasize their desire to become a member of the European Union. <...> The harmlessness of such a desire of Kiev raises serious doubts, <...> Considering that the EU comes from a constructive economic platform <...> Lavrov has turned into an aggressive, militant player,” said after the meeting of the CIS Foreign Ministers.
He believes that EU countries are “going exactly on the path that NATO has already drawn, thus confirming its tendency to unite with the North Atlantic Alliance and in effect fulfill the functions of its extension”.
The day before, First Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Dmitry Polyansky I said In an interview with British online publication UnHerd News, he said that Russia’s stance on Ukraine’s prospects of joining the European Union has changed.
“I think at that time (during the negotiations in Istanbul – socialbites.ca) we were not very worried about the European Union. But the thing is, Mr. [главы европейское дипломатии Жозепа] Borrell said that “this war must be won on the battlefield”. <...> “I think our position on Ukraine’s entry into the EU – socialbites.ca is more similar to our position on Ukraine’s entry into NATO,” said the Russian diplomat.
At the same time, he emphasized that the European Union is the leader in the supply of weapons to Kiev, so Moscow does not see much difference between the EU and NATO. Polyansky added that he is unsure of the possibility of a diplomatic solution to the situation in the near future.
“At this stage, frankly, I do not see any opportunity for a diplomatic solution, given Ukraine’s position and attempts by Western countries to inflame this conflict. “I have to admit, there is no opportunity for diplomacy at the moment,” he said.
Russian officials have repeatedly stated that the North Atlantic Alliance aims to confront each other and that Ukraine’s membership in the bloc will pose a threat to Moscow. Therefore, Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary of the Russian President, said at a briefing that further expansion of the alliance will not bring more security to Europe due to the aggressive nature of the bloc.
“Russia does not object”
On March 29, Russia-Ukraine talks were held in Istanbul. Vladimir Medinsky, vice-presidential vice president and head of the Russian delegation, later said that Ukraine submitted written proposals to Russia, in which he promised to refuse to join military blocs. The document also stated that Moscow, for its part, will not object to Kiev’s desire to join the EU.
“Ukraine refuses to participate in military alliances, to deploy foreign military bases, troops, to conduct military exercises on the territory of Ukraine without the consent of the guarantor states, including the Russian Federation. “The Russian Federation does not object to Ukraine’s desire to join the European Union,” he said.
At the same time, he stressed that these and other provisions are “not provisions of the agreement, but proposals that Russia sees as a constructive step towards finding a compromise.”
Ukraine’s EU and NATO hopes
After the collapse of the USSR and its independence, Ukraine was a NATO partner and aspired to Euro-Atlantic integration. At the alliance summit in Bucharest in April 2008, the North Atlantic alliance countries, Ukraine and Georgia, pledged to accept the bloc “when the time comes”. In April 2010, however, the country’s President Viktor Yanukovych slowed the process by liquidating the interdepartmental commission on preparations for joining the alliance and the national center for Euro-Atlantic integration.
After the coup in February 2014 and the coming to power of President Petro Poroshenko, Kyiv again rushed to NATO and the European Union. Kurt Volker, the US State Department’s Special Representative for Ukraine, said that there is still no unity in the alliance regarding Ukraine’s membership, and that there is still a long way to go before joining NATO. Jean-Claude Juncker, then head of the European Commission, noted that Ukraine “cannot become a member of the EU and NATO in the next 20-25 years”.
On February 21, 2019, the law on amending the Ukrainian constitution on the way to the EU and NATO, signed by Poroshenko on February 19, entered into force.
The phrase “The European identity of the Ukrainian people and the irreversibility of Ukraine’s European and Euro-Atlantic route” was fixed in the preamble of the Constitution. In Article 102 of the Basic Law, the powers of the president were changed and he became “the guarantor of the implementation of the state’s strategic path for full membership in the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization”. In addition, the article of the transitional provisions of the constitution, which stipulates the renting of Ukrainian military bases by foreign states, was also removed from the main document of the country.