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Media: Western official suggests Ukraine could exchange territory for NATO membership

by Martin Fornusek and Elsa Court August 15, 2023 9:37 PM 2 min read
This audio is created with AI assistance

Stian Jenssen, the NATO secretary general's chief of staff, has proposed that Ukraine cede part of its territory to Russia in exchange for NATO membership in order to end the war, the Norwegian newspaper VG reported on Aug. 15.

"I think that a solution could be for Ukraine to give up territory, and get NATO membership in return," Jenssen said during a debate in the Norwegian city of Arendal, adding that it is only one of the possible solutions.

However, "it must be up to Ukraine to decide when and on what terms they want to negotiate," he said.

According to Jenssen, the discussion on Ukraine's status after the war is already underway, and other countries are already raising the question of Kyiv ceding territory to Russia.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukraine's presidential chief of staff, wrote on Twitter that the idea of Ukraine ceding territory in exchange for accession to NATO is "ridiculous."

Exchanging territory for membership would mean "choosing the defeat of democracy, encouraging a global criminal, preserving the Russian regime, destroying international law, and passing the war on to other generations," Podolyak said.

Anything other than a "crushing defeat" for Putin will result in "Russia's appetite for more," he said.

While Ukraine did not receive an invitation to join NATO at the Vilnius summit in July, the Group of Seven (G7) has officially agreed on long-term security commitments for Ukraine.

In his nightly address on July 12, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that for the first time since Ukraine's independence, the country had created a foundation to pave its way to NATO with concrete security guarantees "that are confirmed by the top seven democracies in the world."

Doug Klain: How to open NATO’s door for Ukraine
Despite more than two-thirds of NATO members supporting a path for Ukraine into the alliance, Ukraine got a flat no. The alliance’s decision at the 2023 Vilnius summit was both unsurprising and a disappointment. Opposition primarily from Washington and Berlin dashed any hopes of a clear invite for U…

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