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Stoltenberg downplays idea Ukraine could give up land for membership – The Guardian

Meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council,12 July 2023. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Photo: NATO/Flickr
Stoltenberg downplays idea Ukraine could give up land for membership – The Guardian

NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said it is up to Ukraine to decide when and under what conditions to begin any negotiations on ending the war with Russia after comments of a key aide about a land-for-NATO-membership agreement, according to The Guardian.

Earlier, Stian Jenssen, director of Stoltenberg’s private office, suggested one solution to end the ongoing war could be for Ukraine to offer Russia land in exchange for accession to the Alliance which caused backlash.

“It is Ukraine and only Ukraine, that can decide when the prerequisites for negotiations are present. And who can decide, around a negotiating table, what is an acceptable solution. Our task is to support them,” he stated.

Stoltenberg has also claimed that the path to peace is “to support Ukraine militarily” during the Arendal democracy festival.

It was the third effort in three days to smooth over the row caused by Stoltenberg’s aide. In addition, NATO issued a statement insisting its policy of support for Ukraine had not changed, while later Jenssen apologized and said he had made a mistake in speaking as simplistically as he did.

Following Jenssen’s comments, Mykhailo Podoliak, a senior adviser to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy criticized the idea of handing over territory, saying, “Criminals must not be encouraged by the phrase ‘land for peace.'”

“The territories of Crimea and Donbas are the unconditional territories of Ukraine, and therefore the only way to really stop the war is to return international law to these territories,” Podoliak claimed.

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