“Putin wants much more than Ukraine and Georgia. Belarus, Moldova, Armenia: he wants his empire back,” former Secretary General of NATO Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told the Financial Times.
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, who as head of Nato declared in 2008 that Ukraine “will become a member”, said Vladimir Putin’s demands for the alliance to abandon that pledge was a false pretext for the Russian president’s “revanchist crusade”.
“He’s a guy whose world broke apart in 1989,” said de Hoop Scheffer, referring to the events of that year, which included the fall of the Berlin Wall, that preceded the collapse of the Soviet Union.
He continued: “In retrospect, when I look back at this now, for Nato a reconfirmation of the open-door policy would have been preferable . . . but that’s easy to say now. Nato’s in a bind because we’ve told Ukraine you can enter the house but you’re not allowed on the porch. Compromises are ugly . . . and Nato is living with that compromise ever since.”
In recent talks with Russia, the US and Nato rebuffed Moscow’s demands never to admit Ukraine and Georgia into the alliance as part of a series of agreements it said it required to safeguard its security. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said that in reality, Kyiv had no prospect of membership due to the same opposition that existed in 2008.
“For the foreseeable and the unforeseeable future, they’ll not become a Nato member. And I think the whole group around that table in Bucharest knew this. It was already clear then that in the eyes of the opponents [of Ukraine’s membership] it was until hell freezes over. There was no time limit whatsoever. [Putin] was of course furious about the wording. Although then, and right up until now, he very well knows . . . that Nato and the Americans are never ever going to wage war with Russia over Ukraine,” he asserted.
Nato’s pledge to admit Ukraine is not to blame for conflict, says ex-chief https://t.co/Xp3z5kxNgX
— Financial Times (@FT) January 23, 2022