In an interview with NBC News, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky attacked former President Donald Trump’s pledge to end the war. He argued that if Kiev does not defeat Moscow, Russia will attack a NATO member state and force the US into a direct conflict.
Zelensky was asked about Trump’s claim he would immediately engage the Kremlin in talks and bring the war to a negotiated settlement. “Are they ready to start a war to send their children? Are they ready to die?” he said in the interview that was published on Thursday. “If Russia occupies Ukraine, they will move on to the Baltic countries, to Poland, to any NATO country, and in that particular case the U.S. will have to choose between dismantling NATO or fighting.”
Kiev and hawks in Washington have asserted that Ukraine is a bulwark, protecting members of NATO from Moscow’s expansionist ambitions. However, there is no evidence that the Kremlin eyes attacking another country. Russian President Vladimir Putin views Ukraine as a unique security threat to his county and says seizing territory protects Moscow against the expanding NATO alliance.
Ukraine hopes to be added as a member of the alliance once the war is over. “We need an invitation, and it needs to be clear that after this war, if we are ready, and if the Ukraine army is ready to NATO standards, then after the war we will be invited to join.” Zelensky continued, “It’s very important to hear the truth and not tell us lies.”
In 2008, Ukraine was told it would one day receive full NATO membership. At the time, Moscow denounced the proposal, saying it violated red lines and, from the Russian perspective, would create a significant security threat.
Despite the Russian objections, NATO maintains its doors are open to new members, but Ukraine does not currently meet the requirements. As Kiev is currently at war with Moscow, admitting Ukraine into the alliance will put NATO in direct confrontation with Russia.
At times, Kiev appears to be frustrated with NATO refusing to make a formal commitment to Ukraine. Zelensky is threatening to sit out a coming meeting of the North Atlantic alliance in July because Ukraine will not receive a pledge to become a member at the end of the war.
Zelensky went on to slam Trump, claiming he was unable to end the war in Ukraine while he was in office. “Why didn’t he do that earlier? He was president when the war was going on here,” he explained. “I think he couldn’t do that. I think there are no people today in the world who could just have a word with Putin and end the war.”
The statement appears to be an admission from Zelensky that the war in Ukraine began before the Russian invasion in 2022. Prior to the Russian invasion, Ukraine was embroiled in an eight-year-long civil war. Washington and NATO justify their support for Kiev by saying the Russian invasion was “unprovoked.”
The Minsk Accords were agreed to by Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France with the intention of ending the civil war. However, Zelensky was unable to get neo-nazi paramilitaries fighting for Ukraine to comply with the agreement. In the days before the Russian invasion, there was a surge in fighting between Ukrainian forces and rebels in the Donbass region.
This article was originally featured at Antiwar.com and is republished with permission.