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US and Germany opposed to inviting Ukraine into NATO – NYT

The bloc wants to find a “middle ground” in helping Kiev as it “is in danger of losing the war,” the paper reports

The US and Germany are reluctant to accept Ukraine into NATO despite fears of Kiev’s military collapse under Russian pressure, the New York Times reported on Thursday.

Officials in the US-led bloc are worried that such a drastic move “would draw it into the biggest land war in Europe since 1945,” the paper said, adding that NATO is looking for a “middle ground” instead.

These concerns are said to be shared by Berlin and Washington, which are opposed to opening membership talks with Ukraine at NATO’s summit in Washington in July. At the same time, they champion long-term security assistance commitments to Ukraine.

On Wednesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg urged the bloc’s members to focus on providing Ukraine with “reliable and predictable security assistance” rather than voluntary donations. The NATO chief has reportedly proposed a five-year €100 billion ($107 billion) package of military aid to Kiev, which would also see the bloc take on more responsibility – rather than the US – in terms of coordinating assistance.

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Several Western diplomats told the NYT, however, that this plan appears “elusive” at the moment.

A former US ambassador to NATO, Ivo Daalder, said that Washington appears to be tacitly opposed to the initiative, which would diminish its role in coordinating the assistance. Hungary, another NATO member, has publicly spoken out against any moves that could make the bloc more involved in the conflict.

It is also unclear how NATO could compel members to contribute to the €100 billion package over such a long period of time, the report says.

However, “none of these things may matter” by summer if Russia continues to push back Kiev’s troops, as Ukraine is “in danger of losing the war,” the NYT said.

In recent weeks, Russia has liberated the key Donbass city of Avdeevka, while capturing several nearby settlements. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky warned last month that this would not be the last retreat unless the US renews its military assistance. An aid package has for months been stalled in the US Congress due to Republican opposition, as GOP members demand more efforts to enhance border security.

Russia has condemned the Western arms shipments to Kiev, warning they will only prolong the conflict. Officials in Moscow have also accused the West of using Ukraine as a tool in order to inflict “a strategic defeat” on Russia.

 

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