The words of Ukraine’s Ambassador to the UK Vadym Prystaiko that Ukraine is allegedly ready to consider refusing NATO membership in order to prevent a war with the Russian Federation is a clumsy wording. The Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Oleg Nikolenko stated this during an online briefing.
"Today, a lot of people were alarmed by the words of the Ukraine’s Ambassador to the UK that Ukraine is purportedly ready to consider refusing NATO membership in order to prevent a war with Russia. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already provided clarification, but I want to repeat once again that these words are clumsy wording. The prospect of Ukraine's membership in NATO is enshrined in the Constitution and no decisions can be made contrary to the Basic Law," Nikolenko said.
He stressed that Ukraine is not yet a member of NATO or any other security alliance, so the broader issue of security guarantees is key for Ukraine.
The Office of the President is roughly on the same page. Serhiy Nikiforov, spokesperson for the Office of the President, said in a commentary to the outlet Liga that the course towards joining NATO and the European Union remains an "unconditional priority" for Ukraine.
"The Ambassador used the word 'flexibility'. I think we should give him a chance to explain what exactly he had in mind before drawing any conclusions, especially such bold ones. Whatever the explanation is, the North Atlantic and European course remains the unconditional priority of our country," Nikiforov said.
Petro Poroshenko (the party European Solidarity) stated that his faction is demanding that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy dismiss Ukraine’s Ambassador to the UK Vadym Prystaiko for his statement about the rejection of the country's Euro-Atlantic course.
"A simple refutation is not enough. We declare that the only way to prove that the position of Prystaiko is not the position of the Ukrainian authorities and Zelenskyy is to immediately recall the Ambassador from London and discharge from his employment," Poroshenko said at a meeting of the coordination board of leaders of the factions and groups.
Prystaiko himself stressed that the earlier statement had been the result of a misunderstanding.
"We are now explaining in various interviews that NATO (a course towards NATO—Ed. note) is even enshrined in the Constitution and there are no changes now, but we cannot count on NATO at the moment—because we are not family members. To avoid war right now, we are ready for compromises, but they do not relate to an area of NATO, but to the Minsk agreements. Regarding NATO now, we keep the course, but we are forced to look for other options that will allow us to survive right now," Vadym Prystaiko noted.
At the same time, in Russia, presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stated that Ukraine's official refusal to join NATO would help formulate a response to Russia's concerns.
"It goes without saying that Ukraine’s refusal to join NATO has been somehow recorded and confirmed... It goes without saying that this would be a step that would considerably contribute to formulating a more meaningful response to Russia’s concerns,," he said.
Context. Earlier, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the UK, former Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live that Kyiv could refuse to join the North Atlantic Alliance if it helps to avoid a full-scale war with Russia. At the same time, he admitted that his words may run counter to the norms of the Constitution of Ukraine.