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Ukraine unable to join NATO due to conflict in Donbass — German envoy

Anka Feldhausen noted that Kiev had instruments for progress in cooperation with NATO

KIEV, September 3. /TASS/. The conflict in Donbass and the situation around Crimea, which Kiev considers Ukrainian, are obstructions for Kiev’s accession to NATO, German Ambassador to Ukraine Anka Feldhausen said in an interview for Ukrainian television on Friday.

"The fact remains - there is a military conflict in Ukraine. It is always difficult for NATO to accept new countries with such ongoing conflicts," she said.

When asked whether the conflict in east Ukraine and the situation around Crimea are obstructions for Ukraine’s membership in the Alliance, the envoy said "yes."

She noted that Kiev had instruments for progress in cooperation with NATO.

"Those are the yearly national programs under the aegis of the Ukraine-NATO commission that are being implemented by Ukraine every year. Besides, Ukraine has already had the Enhanced Opportunities Partner status for two years, and you [Ukraine] have not at all engaged the existing opportunities," she said.

The envoy also recalled that reforms must be carried out first, including military, judicial and anti-corruption ones.

Earlier on Wednesday, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki stated that the US believes that Ukraine should fulfill a number of preconditions in order to comply with the NATO standards, adding that Washington cannot decide on a state’s NATO membership alone. She named "efforts to advance rule of law reforms, modernize its defense sector, and expand economic growth," among steps expected to be taken by Ukraine on its way to NATO.

In 2008, NATO adopted a political statement that Ukraine and Georgia will one day become NATO members, but refused to provide a Membership Action Plan - the first step in the procedure of accession to the Organization - to either state. According to experts in Brussels, in the last 12 years Kiev and Tbilisi have rather drifted away from joining the alliance. In particular, NATO does not accept states with unresolved territorial issues, because the membership of such states might pull the entire alliance into a military conflict.

In 2019, the Ukrainian parliament approved amendments to the Constitution that cement Ukraine’s course towards NATO, stating that "the Euro-Atlantic course is irreversible".