Top Nato official: downsized Ukraine in Nato?
Stian Jenssen, chief of staff to Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, suggested in a panel discussion that Ukraine could be offered Nato membership in exchange for ceding territory to Russia, according to the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang. Under what conditions negotiations could begin would be up to Ukraine, Jenssen reportedly added. Kyiv described the remarks as unacceptable. Commentators weigh in.
A fatal signal
Newspaper taz is outraged:
“Just imagine what this scenario would actually mean for Ukraine — or what would be left of it — in practice. ... The Kremlin would be rewarded for its war of aggression against its neighbour which has left thousands dead and many areas completely devastated. The Ukrainians living in the occupied territories would be sacrificed. ... Apart from that: mind games such as land for ‘peace’ send a fatal signal to the Ukrainians. ... There is fear among the people that the West’s support could crumble. Because Jenssen’s message can also be read in that way. If these fears are realised, it would be a catastrophe.”
Membership becoming a concrete possibility
The proposal also has its good side, columnist Vitaly Portnykov writes on 24tv.ua:
“The very fact that the possibility of Ukraine joining Nato is being discussed during the war is a blessing for us. These discussions create a chance not only for Ukraine to win this war but also for Ukraine to remain a nation until this victory, and not just a page in the history books about the heroic struggle of the Ukrainian people against the Russian invasion. We don’t need a history book, we need living people who are able to build a living Ukrainian state after this war.”
Painful compromise no longer taboo
Despite Kyiv’s rejection the scenario proposed by Jenssen will remain on the table, Liberal predicts:
“Advisers to the Ukrainian president immediately issued statements calling the remark unacceptable and declaring that ceding territory in exchange for Nato would constitute a — deliberately brought about — defeat of democracy, an undermining of international law and the passing on of the war to future generations. Nonetheless, the debate has been initiated. ... While it is not the first time such a thought has arisen, Jenssen’s statement to this effect seems at least to confirm that in the Nato corridors in Brussels a painful compromise for Kyiv is no longer taboo.”
Not without the Ukrainians’ consent
Pravda rejects the proposal on principle:
“Should Ukraine give up lost territory? For armchair generals and distant observers, this seems an obvious choice. However the Ukrainian perspective is different and needs to be understood. We wouldn’t want others to decide about things that affect us without us either. ... Since the probability of one side completely destroying the other is almost zero, there will be negotiations. The horror of war will end one day. But the question of which cards the players sit down at the table with is still open. We can only realistically think about compromise if the Ukrainians resign themselves to a loss of territory. Otherwise, all calls for surrender are misplaced, contemptible and cynical.”