NATO reaffirms its support for Ukraine's territorial integrity

NATO reaffirms its support for Ukraine's territorial integrity

Kyiv lashes out at remarks by senior NATO official, calling them 'absolutely unacceptable'

By Selen Temizer

BRUSSELS (AA) - NATO moved quickly Tuesday to assure Ukraine of its support following remarks by one of its senior officials.

Speaking during a panel discussion in Norway, Stian Jenssen, the NATO secretary general’s chief of staff, proposed that Ukraine give up part of its territory to Russia in exchange for NATO membership in order to end the war.

"I think that a solution could be for Ukraine to give up territory and get NATO membership in return," he said, adding however that "it must be up to Ukraine to decide when and on what terms they want to negotiate," the Norwegian tabloid newspaper Verdens Gang reported on Aug. 15.

Jenssen noted, however, that this was only one of the possible solutions and not NATO’s stance on the issue.

An official source from the Alliance responded.

“We fully support Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, as NATO leaders reaffirmed at the Vilnius Summit in July. We will continue to support Ukraine as long as necessary, and we are committed to achieving a just and lasting peace,” he said.

NATO has repeatedly said that it is for Ukraine to decide on the time and conditions of peace with Russia.

- ‘Absolutely unacceptable’

Ukrainian officials slammed Jenssen’s remarks in statements on social media.

“Talk about Ukraine joining NATO in exchange for giving up part of Ukrainian territories is absolutely unacceptable,” said Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko on Facebook.

"We have always assumed that the Alliance, like Ukraine, does not trade territories. The conscious or unconscious participation of NATO officials in shaping the narrative regarding the possibility of Ukraine's giving up its territories plays into the hands of Russia," Nikolenko said.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on the social media platform X that ceding territory in exchange for NATO membership would mean “deliberately choosing the defeat of democracy, encouraging a global criminal, preserving the Russian regime, destroying international law, and passing the war on to other generations.”

*Burc Eruygur contributed to this story from Istanbul

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