Western backers warn Zelensky not to expect ‘the impossible’ – Telegraph

The US and Germany are “very skeptical” about Ukraine moving closer to NATO membership, the report says

The West has made it clear to Ukraine that it should not expect to join NATO in the coming months, the Daily Telegraph reported on Tuesday, citing sources. One of the main concerns among Western nations is that Kiev’s membership in the bloc could draw it into a conflict with Russia.

According to one source close to the administration of President Joe Biden, the US and Germany are among the countries that vehemently oppose setting a timetable for Ukraine’s accession ahead of NATO’s Washington summit in July. These countries are “very skeptical about bringing Ukraine any further along the path to full NATO membership this year,” he added.

The paper noted that while the issue does not concern the US as much as it does Germany, both “worry about the threat of Russia to the rest of the alliance.” Moscow has repeatedly said it has no plans to attack the US-led military bloc, dismissing speculation on the matter as “nonsense.”

The Telegraph suggested that this stance would “frustrate” Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky, who has reportedly been asked by his Western backers not to request the “impossible” of them.

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The Telegraph report echoes a January Foreign Policy article, which cited dozens of Western officials as saying that the issue of Ukraine’s membership has caused a rift between NATO nations. While Washington and Berlin were said to believe it was too soon to kick-start Ukraine’s accession process while its conflict with Russia is underway, Poland and the Baltic states reportedly insisted that Kiev’s membership in NATO would be the most effective way to deter Moscow.

Both US and German officials have publicly stated they do not expect Ukraine to join NATO anytime soon, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz saying that this is unlikely to happen “for at least another 30 years.”

NATO first promised that Ukraine could join in 2008, but has since refrained from giving an exact timeline, saying only that it will happen when all members agree. In 2019, Kiev officially designated NATO and EU membership as a strategic foreign policy goal. Ukraine formally applied to join the military bloc in September 2022, after four of its former regions voted to join Russia.

Moscow has for decades considered the expansion of NATO – which it has called a “tool of confrontation” – towards its borders as an existential threat. Russian President Vladimir Putin has also said that Ukraine’s push to join the military bloc was one of the key reasons for the current conflict.

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