All NATO Countries Agree Ukraine's Admission to Alliance Impossible For Now, Hungarian FM Says

© Sputnik . Alexey Vitvitsky / Go to the mediabankGodło organizacji w siedzibie głównej NATO w Brukseli, Belgia
Godło organizacji w siedzibie głównej NATO w Brukseli, Belgia - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 29.11.2023
BUDAPEST (Sputnik) - Russia has always stood against Ukraine's membership of NATO due to national security concerns, but never opposed Kiev's aspirations to join the European Union, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto stated on Tuesday that a consensus among NATO countries persists that it is impossible for Ukraine to join the alliance now, but it may be possible in the future if conditions are met and the allies agree.
"There is agreement at least that Ukraine's accession to NATO is impossible for now. A consensus formula has been formed that it [the accession] would be possible if the conditions are met and the allies agree. These are the two conditions now, there are no changes here. There was no breakdown of the agreement that Ukraine's accession to NATO is unimaginable in current conditions," Szijjarto told journalists after the end of the first day of NATO foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels.
The foreign minister called the consensus the right thing to do as Ukraine's admission to NATO now would mean the beginning of World War III.
Szijjarto also said many NATO countries "cautiously and in low voice" admitted that the results of Ukraine's counteroffensive were far from expectations, as the situation on the battlefield had not changed much and there had been no breakthrough of the front line.
"The realization has come" that Ukraine's counteroffensive "has yielded results noticeably far from expectations, no one disputed this today," the foreign minister said, adding that "the overwhelming majority [of NATO members] did not address the issue" in their addresses, and a single counterpart's attempt to explain that Kiev's counteroffensive would be victorious had been "isolated."
A Romanian serviceman furls the NATO flag. File photo - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 11.09.2023
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The minister also noted that NATO countries, for the first time, mentioned in a positive way the fact that Hungary has a strong government and not a "dictatorship" and a threat.
"I noted that it is fantastic to hear in this circle that a strong government is something positive. Because I have been participating in meetings of NATO, the European Union and similar organizations as a foreign minister for over nine years, and everywhere I heard that a strong government is dangerous and means dictatorship. And here they mentioned in a positive way that Hungary and Turkey have strong governments," Szijjarto said.
The minister added that "it could not be understood from the outside that Sweden was not in NATO" because Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom was present at the meeting.
In September 2022, Ukraine sought accelerated NATO membership following the onset of the Russian military operation. As a result of the July 11-12 NATO Summit in Vilnius, NATO leaders agreed on a package of three elements to bring Ukraine closer to the alliance. The first element is the creation of an assistance program for Ukraine to facilitate its transition to NATO standards, training and doctrine.
The second element is the establishment of a NATO-Ukraine Council, and the third is the cancellation of the membership action plan for Ukraine, which will allow Kiev's accession process to be shortened from two steps to one. Yet, an official invitation from the bloc has not been extended to Kiev.
On February 24, 2022, Russia launched its special military operation in Ukraine and almost immediately agreed to begin peace settlement negotiations, which took place in Minsk and Istanbul. One of the main conditions of Moscow's negotiations with Kiev in the spring of 2022 was the recognition of Crimea as Russian territory and the neutrality of Ukraine. Despite early negotiations, Moscow announced in April that Ukraine refused to engage further in conflict resolution discussions.