A NATO official asks for comment on Ukraine giving up territory for membership

  • Stian Jensen, director of the NATO Secretary General’s Private Office, came under fire for comments during a panel discussion on Tuesday.
  • Afterwards, Jensen told VG Norway that his choice of words was a mistake.

Stian Jensen (left), Director of the Special Office of the NATO Secretary General, speaks to NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoanna during the Informal Meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers on May 15, 2022 in Berlin, Germany.

Xander Heinel | photothic | Getty Images

NATO official Stian Jensen said on Wednesday that comments he made the day before about Ukraine ceding territory in order to gain membership in the military alliance were a “mistake”.

“I think the solution could be for Ukraine to give up its territory, and to get NATO membership in return,” Jensen said during a panel discussion in Arendal, Norway, the Norwegian newspaper VG reported. mentioned Tuesday. He also said that it was up to Ukraine to decide when and on what terms to negotiate.

Tell VG at a follow-up interview Wed: “My statement about this was part of a larger discussion about possible future scenarios in Ukraine, and I shouldn’t have said it that way. It was a mistake.”

A NATO press officer directed CNBC to VG’s new article when asked about a statement from Jensen, who is director of the Special Office of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

The initial comment caused an uproar in Kyiv. His words appeared to be criticized on social media by Ukraine’s presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak, who called the concept of ceding territory to NATO membership “ridiculous”.

To do so, Podolyak added, would be to “deliberately choose to defeat democracy, encourage a global criminal, preserve Russian order, destroy international law, and pass on war to other generations.”

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other officials have repeatedly said that Ukraine is not willing to give up any of its territory in order to reach a peace deal.

In the follow-up interview on Wednesday, Jensen said he has always stressed that any decision is entirely Ukraine’s.

He also said that the most important thing is to continue to support Ukraine with its counterattack.

“Many have commented that it is going a little slower than they had hoped. I still want to add a seed of optimism to this, as I also said at the Arendal debate. One must remember that when the war broke out there was concern that Ukraine might collapse into Within weeks and days.

“It never happened. They showed a heroic effort against a superior power. The issue now is how much territory Ukraine can regain,” he said.

Kiev applied for express membership in NATO in September 2022. NATO allies in 2023 advertiser Commitment to Ukraine’s eventual membership under certain conditions, including “democracy and security sector reforms.”

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