LONDON – NATO is “fluctuating” on Ukraine’s accession to the alliance risking a “backlash to Moscow,” former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday.
Johnson – a spokesman for Ukraine who was removed from office last year after a series of scandals – accused the organization of ignoring the lessons of history and choosing the opportunity to send “the right message” to Russian President Vladimir Putin at a NATO meeting in Vilnius this week.
Ukraine was hopeful that this year’s NATO meeting it will end with a clear declaration from the members of the military alliance that it can become a member after its war with Russia.
But the statement issued by the allies on Tuesday failed, promising instead that NATO “can order Ukraine when the allies agree and implement it.” Disappointment at the process was poured into the open, and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy He says that it seems like “no one is ready” to accept the country in the bloc even if it is fighting Russia.
Writing in his weekly column for the Daily Mail, Johnson took a look at NATO’s position, and said that no country “has done more or tried harder than Ukraine to ensure that it deserves to be a member of NATO” than the UK.
“All the Alliance needed to do in Vilnius was set a deadline – not for immediate membership; which is not wise as long as the war is still going on – but for membership as soon as it is won,” said Johnson.
And he asked: “When are we going to learn the lesson of the last 20 years of dealing with Putin? It is our absolute anonymity, our flexibility, our suck-and-blow-together, that has made him attack. As long as he thinks there is a chance that he can bring Ukraine back to the streets of Moscow – as long as they think they can rebuild the Soviet Union – they will try.”
Johnson’s supporter-but one, Rishi Sunak, has repeatedly said that Ukraine’s “rightful place” is in NATO. But he strongly defended this week’s meeting as a winner.
“I think it is clear from today’s meeting that the public opinion is that Ukraine will and should be a member of NATO,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “That’s what you heard loud and clear coming out of this meeting.”