Orban: NATO Missed a Long Missed Chance to Include Ukraine in its Ranks

news 30-Aug-2023 World News

Orban: NATO Missed a Historic Chance to Include Ukraine in its Ranks 15 Years Ago

BUDAPEST - Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has stated that NATO missed a historic opportunity to include Ukraine in its ranks 15 years ago, citing Russia's increasing strength as a hindrance. In an interview with American television journalist Tucker Carlson, Orban expressed his belief that the North Atlantic integration of Ukraine could have occurred at the NATO Bucharest Summit in 2008. However, he claimed that the "big Western countries" failed to reach a consensus at that time.

Orban emphasized that Russia's influence was not strong enough to prevent Ukraine's inclusion in NATO back then. He asserted, "There was a real chance at that time to integrate Ukrainians into NATO, but it was rejected. There was no agreement among the big Western countries, and the issue was postponed."

The Hungarian Prime Minister further noted that in the subsequent years, Russia's strength continued to grow significantly. According to Orban, this development effectively closed the window of opportunity, making it impossible to consider Ukraine's inclusion in NATO at present. He expressed disappointment about missing the chance to seize the historic opportunity.

Orban voiced concerns about NATO having a direct border with Russia along Ukraine's eastern frontiers, asserting that it would inevitably lead to a conflict. In light of this, he emphasized the need to pursue agreements with Russia to establish a new security architecture that would ensure Ukraine's sovereignty while eschewing its NATO membership. Orban's proposal appears to be rooted in seeking a solution that mitigates the risks associated with escalating tensions between Russia and NATO.

The question of Ukraine's potential NATO membership has been a contentious issue since Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine. Various countries have held differing perspectives on how best to address Ukraine's relationship with NATO, taking into account the complex geopolitical dynamics in the region.

As the debate continues, Viktor Orban's viewpoint highlights the missed opportunity from over a decade ago, underscoring the potential consequences of failing to act decisively during volatile times. The Hungarian Prime Minister's call for a new security architecture emphasizes the need for diplomatic negotiations that safeguard the stability and sovereignty of Ukraine while acknowledging the current limitations in pursuing its membership in the alliance. The question remains whether the international community will heed this call and explore alternative approaches to address the volatile situation in Eastern Europe.

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