Russia has warned Western powers against providing security assurances to Ukraine, casting this as a dangerous mistake that would affect Moscow and expose Europe to greater risks for years ahead.
Group of Seven (G7) countries announced on Wednesday an international framework that paves the way for long-term security assurances for Ukraine to boost its defences against Russia and deter Moscow from future aggression.
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In a joint declaration, which other nations can join, the United States, Germany, Japan, France, Canada, Italy and Britain, as well as the European Union, said the measures encompass elements including modern advanced military equipment, training, intelligence sharing and cyberdefence.
In return, Ukraine would pledge improved governance measures, including through judicial and economic reforms and enhanced transparency.
“We consider this move to be badly mistaken and potentially very dangerous,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in response to the security assurances. “By providing any kind of security guarantees for Ukraine, these countries would be ignoring the international principle on the indivisibility of security. By providing guarantees to Ukraine, they would be impinging on the security of the Russian Federation.”
He added Russia could not tolerate anything threatening its security, and hoped that the West would recognise the risks attached to the decision.
Such a move is “fraught with highly negative consequences in the medium, long and even short term” said Peskov.
“By taking such a decision, these countries will make Europe much more dangerous for many many years to come. And of course, they will do a disservice to us, something we will take into account and keep in mind in [the] future.”
According to a British government statement, the G7 security assurances set out how allies will support Ukraine over the coming years to end the war that was instigated by Russia last year, “and deter and respond to any future attack”.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak acknowledged that the G7 pledge was not a substitute for Ukraine’s membership in the NATO military alliance, which Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is pressing for.
During a two-day NATO summit in Lithuania that ends on Wednesday, members were positive on Ukraine’s future membership, but stopped short of issuing a timeline or a formal invitation into the alliance.
After Zelenskyy and NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg addressed reporters on Wednesday, Al Jazeera’s James Bays, reporting from the summit in Vilnius, said: “If you listen to the actual words of President Zelenskyy, he’s still not happy with everything he received at this summit.”
“He said there was obviously positive news because we’re seeing a lot of support … in terms of military hardware to Ukraine.”
Former Russian diplomat Vyacheslav Matuzov told Al Jazeera that while Russia did not consider NATO forces on its doorstep as a significant issue, since Scandinavian countries are already part of the alliance, Moscow would likely mirror any future moves to boost its security.