France ready to offer security guarantees to Ukraine – RT World News
With NATO membership not on the table for now, kyiv still looks to the West for reinforcements
France is prepared to conclude security agreements with Ukraine to “to prevent possible future attacks”, the country’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. The statement lends credence to earlier reports that Western powers are considering a military pact with kyiv.
“France, with its partners, is continuing to reflect on the best way to support Ukraine in the long term and in all areas”, read a statement on the ministry’s website. “France is ready to conclude agreements with Ukraine aimed at providing it with security guarantees which will help it to defend itself in the long term and to prevent possible future aggressions.”
The ministry added that French officials discussed the plan with their British counterparts in March.
The statement follows a Wall Street Journal article on Monday, in which Polish President Andrzej Duda claimed he and US President Joe Biden had discussed a “Israeli” defense agreement with Ukraine when they meet in Warsaw in February.
According to the newspaper’s sources, such a deal – which would see kyiv’s Western backers commit to continued arms transfers and military funding, without committing to fight Russia – is “gain ground” among NATO members.
A deal could be signed after the next NATO summit in Lithuania in July, the sources added, saying it would likely be modeled on the Ukrainian government’s “Kiev Security Pact”. Published in September, this document calls for “an effort of several decades of sustained investment” by the West in Ukraine, as well as more NATO training missions and technology transfers for its army.
The document makes no mention of a mutual defense clause, such as Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, but calls for the provision of “ironclad security guarantees” to Ukraine, “mainly NATO countries.”
NATO’s current position is that “Ukraine will become a member of the alliance”, however, the bloc’s general secretary, Jens Stoltenberg, declined to offer a timetable for this. Admitting Ukraine while hostilities with Russia are ongoing, or even with battle lines frozen by a ceasefire, would bring the US-led bloc into a state of war with Russia.
Ukraine won’t join NATO anytime soon – Scholz
Asked on Monday about Ukraine’s prospects for NATO membership, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said there was a “the whole range of requirements” and criteria that Kyiv is currently unable to meet. Kyiv’s accession is therefore not on the agenda “Soon.”
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has insisted that NATO states offer his country full membership or nothing. “Ukraine will be intransigent on this issue,” he said during a press conference with Duda last month.