The proposal by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s Chief of Staff, Stian Jenssen, has sparked international debate. At a panel discussion in Arendal, a town in southern Norway, Jenssen said there could be a way for Ukraine to become a NATO member if it ceded territory to Russia. According to The War Zone, Jenssen added that others, whom he did not name, had already floated this option of surrendering territory. However, he emphasized that it is ultimately up to Ukraine to decide under what terms it wants to negotiate.
Exchange is not up for discussion
The reaction from Ukraine was prompt: an adviser to the Ukrainian President, Mykhalio Podlyak, sharply rejected the proposal. He commented on Twitter that swapping territory for a NATO shield was absurd and violated international law. Following that controversy, an unnamed NATO official told Ukraine’s Pravda, The War Zone reported, that the alliance continued to reiterate its support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
During the NATO summit in Vilnius in July, the issue of Ukrainian membership was generally pushed, but with no concrete timely plans, The War Zone points out. It was nonetheless remarkable that a senior NATO official would make such a suggestion.