German government’s ‘clear’ position is that ‘no NATO soldiers’ will be sent to Ukraine, government official says
Sending NATO troops to Ukraine for any purpose should be a “Red lineGerman government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit told reporters on Wednesday.
Hebestreit responded Tuesday to Poland’s call for a NATO »peacekeeping missionto Ukraine amid the ongoing Russian military offensive.
The German official said it would be very difficult to distinguish between what would be considered a humanitarian aid operation and what would be considered a military mission.
“No NATO personnel, no NATO soldiers to send outside NATO to Ukraine, that’s clear,” he said.
It should be a “Red line,” underlined Hebestreit, adding that there was a “clear and determined» common position on the issue within the German, French and American governments.
Some officials from NATO countries had also earlier expressed skepticism about Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s idea of sending a NATO peacekeeping mission that would be “able to defend themselves.Kaczynski presented this proposal after his visit to Kyiv with the prime ministers of Poland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic.
Dutch and Luxembourg representatives, who arrived at an emergency NATO meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, expressed their total disagreement with the idea, while Estonian Defense Minister Kalle Laanet said he was ready to discuss the proposal. Representatives from the UK and Canada said the suggestion would be discussed in Brussels on Wednesday, but chose not to go into specifics.
The bloc has consistently refused to get directly involved in the conflict in Ukraine, despite numerous requests from President Volodymyr Zelensky to establish a no-fly zone over the country. The alliance explained that it would not do so because it would lead to a direct confrontation with Russia.
Moscow attacked Ukraine in late February, after a seven-year standoff over Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics in Donetsk and Luhansk. The protocols negotiated by Germany and France were designed to regularize the status of these regions within the Ukrainian state.
Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. kyiv insists the Russian offensive was unprovoked and has denied claims it planned to retake the two republics by force.