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Pentagon Chief Believes Ukraine Will Possibly Again Seek to Become NATO Member

Sputnik News


WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin believes that Ukraine will soon resume its effort to become a member of NATO.

"I do believe that in the future if the possibility exists, I think Ukraine will seek to once again apply to become a member of NATO, but again that's probably a bit down the road," Austin said after Ukraine-focused defence talks with allies in Germany.

Last month, when Russia's special military operation in Ukraine was already underway, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said it was time to admit that Ukraine will never join NATO. In late 2014, the Ukrainian parliament cancelled the non-aligned status of the country and four years later adopted an amendment to enshrine the EU and NATO membership policy course in the country's constitution.

At the same time, Ukraine is now actively seeking EU membership. During the EU delegation's visit to Kiev on 8 April, European Commission's President Ursula von der Leyen handed Zelensky a questionnaire to begin Ukraine's accession process. Ten days later, Zelenskyy submitted the first part of the questionnaire to the EU Ambassador in Ukraine Matti Maasikas.

Speaking during a press conference following a ministerial meeting at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, Austin said that the US and its allies and partners do not want to see any spillover from the conflict in Ukraine.

"We don't want to see any spillover and, again, it is important to make sure that we do everything that we can to ensure that Ukraine is successful and that is the best way to address that [risk of spillover]," Austin noted.

The minister spoke about the nuclear war speculations that have been widely spread in international media since the flaring up of the Ukraine conflict.

"That kind of rhetoric [on behalf of Russia] is very dangerous and unhelpful. Nobody wants to see a nuclear war happen. It's a war that, you know, all sides lose, and so rattling of sabers and dangerous rhetoric is clearly unhelpful and something that we won't engage in," Austin said.

He also mentioned the recent explosions in Moldova's breakaway region of Transnistria, saying that the Pentagon has been looking into the causes of the incidents and will keep monitoring the developments.

© Sputnik

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