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Ex-Russian diplomat: Putin “laughs” at NATO

“A Sign of Weakness”
Ex-Russian diplomat: Putin “laughs” at NATO

At the Vilnius Summit, NATO does not decide on a timetable for Ukraine’s accession. Former Russian UN representative Boris Bondarev interprets this as a weakness that President Putin could feel confirmed in his brutal actions.

Former Russian diplomat Boris Bondarev described the results of the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, as a success for Russian President Vladimir Putin. The fact that the member states have not presented a timetable for Ukraine’s accession is a “sign of weakness,” he told the US magazine “Newsweek”. Bondarev served as Russia’s representative at the United Nations but resigned last year to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to the ex-diplomat, NATO is not united. The USA and Germany in particular would show a hesitant attitude when it came to Ukraine joining the alliance. Putin and his top officials would only “laugh” at this indecisiveness, Bondarev said. Above all, the USA, as Ukraine’s most important ally, would send the wrong signal to Russia. “Putin might think that they are slowly changing their minds, that they are beginning to understand that they cannot win this war,” he said.

In Moscow, according to Bondarev, the prevailing thought is “that NATO did not invite Ukraine because it is afraid of Russia and is still afraid of provoking Putin.” The Kremlin would feel vindicated in its intimidation tactics, such as threatening the West with a nuclear strike.

Russia must “pose a threat”

NATO made it clear at its summit that Ukraine will not join as long as the war with Russia continues. “The message is: if you don’t want Ukraine to join NATO, you still have to be present in Ukraine or threaten it, you have to bomb Ukrainian cities,” Bondarev said. Russia must “pose a threat that NATO does not want for itself.”

Referring to next year’s US presidential election, Bondarev said: “Putin now understands that he just has to wait a bit. And [wenn] If Donald Trump is re-elected as president, then maybe the situation will change.” He sees the “major mistake” of the alliance in not providing Ukraine with its most powerful weapons. “How can this counter-offensive be effective, efficient and successful if the Ukrainians have no weapons? That’s crazy.”

At their summit in Vilnius earlier this week, the 31 member states of NATO confirmed Ukraine’s accession to the alliance. The states have not submitted a timetable. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi initially described this as “absurd”, but later praised the results of the meeting.

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