Kremlin Says NATO Membership for Ukraine Would Be ‘Red Line’

By Reuters
June 17, 2021 Updated: June 17, 2021

MOSCOW—The Kremlin said on June 17 that Ukrainian membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization would be a “red line” for Moscow and that it’s concerned about talk that Kyiv may one day be granted a membership action plan.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov made the remarks a day after U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks in Geneva. Peskov said the summit had been positive overall.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy had said on June 14 that he wanted a clear “yes” or “no” from Biden on giving Ukraine a plan to join NATO. Biden said Ukraine needs to root out corruption and to meet other criteria before it can join.

Peskov said Moscow is following the situation closely.

“This is something we are watching very closely and this really is a red line for us—as regards the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO,” Peskov told the Ekho Moskvy radio station. “Of course, this [the question of a membership plan for Ukraine] raises our concerns.”

Peskov said that Moscow and Washington agreed at the Geneva summit that they needed to holds talks on arms control as soon as possible. Biden and Putin agreed at the summit to embark on regular negotiations to try to lay the groundwork for future arms control agreements and risk reduction measures.

Russia’s deputy foreign minister said that Moscow expects those talks with Washington to start within weeks. He made the comments in a newspaper interview that was published June 17 on the foreign ministry’s website.