Berlin/Kyiv: The Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany has warned that “NATO should make Ukraine its member. Ukraine could then help contribute towards making Europe stronger. Otherwise, Ukraine has no choice but to become nuclear-armed. Ukraine’s security will be guaranteed only after becoming nuclear-armed.”
Russian-backed rebels have launched attacks on the eastern part of Ukraine. Reports state Russia’s unmanned military vehicles are also approaching the Ukrainian border. In such a scenario, Ukraine’s ambassador appears to have given a warning to Russia and NATO.
During an interview with a German radio station, Andrij Melnyk, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Germany, accused Russia of trying to seize new chunks from eastern Ukraine, like Crimea. Fighting continues in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions between pro-Russian rebels and the Ukrainian Army, Melnyk said. Melnyk suggested that Ukraine should be made a NATO member to curb the Russian aggression and empower European countries against Russia.
A few days ago, during a meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zhelensky demanded his country’s inclusion in the military alliance. Ukraine’s demand prompted backlash from Russia. Russia has threatened consequences if Ukraine is included in NATO. However, the head of NATO criticized Russia and said it is up to NATO and not Russia to decide whether Ukraine should be given its membership. The matter was also discussed at a meeting with the Presidents of France and Germany two days ago.
Nevertheless, Ukraine expressed displeasure at NATO not being that serious about its inclusion. In the wake of the events, the Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany appears to have issued a warning to NATO about becoming nuclear-armed. Two days ago, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Andriy Taran accused Russia of preparing to stockpile nuclear weapons in Crimea. Taran warned that Russia had undertaken construction work in Crimea for stockpiling the nuclear weapons. Ukraine’s warning about nuclear disarmament is being looked upon with more seriousness, given the developments.
Ukraine became independent after the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991 and had 3,000 nuclear weapons then. Ukraine was the third country in the world after the United States and Russia with the most nuclear weapons. However, after signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1994, Ukraine handed over 3,000 nuclear weapons to Russia. In return, the United States, the UK, and Russia agreed to respect Ukraine’s borders. In such a scenario, Ukraine’s warning to arm itself again could turn into a source of concern for Russia, the United States, and the European countries.