Earlier, Jenssen had suggested that one of the options for resolving the war initiated by Russia against Ukraine could involve Ukraine giving up certain territories in exchange for NATO membership.
Following a big fuss, which his words have triggered among Ukrainian decision-makers, Jenssen clarified his position in an interview with the Norwegian publication VG, stating:
“My comments during that time were part of a larger conversation about potential future scenarios for Ukraine. I shouldn’t have phrased it that way. It was a mistake.”
The initial suggestion made by Jenssen during the interview triggered a strong reaction from Kyiv.
The Ukrainian line-up of angry responders started with the chief of staff to the President, Mikhaylo Podolyak. On Twitter, Zelensky’s senior adviser denounced Jenssen’s view as “ridiculous” and an “appalling indulgence” of murderers.
Trading territory for a NATO umbrella? It is ridiculous. That means 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. After all, why should Russia…— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) August 15, 2023
“Trading territory for a NATO umbrella? It is ridiculous,” Podolyak wrote. “That means 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.”
He added: “Murderers should not be encouraged by appalling indulgences.”
Oleh Nikolenko, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, labeled it as “completely unacceptable,” emphasizing that Ukraine would not entertain trading its territories.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who is Jenssen’s boss, has thus far not commented but is well-known as a strong supporter of Ukraine and its NATO bid.
During the NATO summit in Vilnius in July 2023, alliance members agreed to streamline Ukraine’s entry into the military-political bloc.
Additionally, the G7 nations issued a statement assuring security guarantees for Ukraine. Negotiations regarding security assurances have begun between Ukraine and the United States as well as the United Kingdom.
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