Croatian President Says Ukraine Should Not be Part of NATO

By 25 January 2022
Croatian President Says Ukraine Should Not be Part of NATO

ZAGREB, 25 Jan 2022 - Ukraine does not belong in NATO, and the situation along the Ukraine-Russia border is a serious crisis behind which stands primarily the dynamics of U.S. internal affairs, Croatian President Zoran Milanović said on Tuesday.

Addressing the press after he visited the Kraš confectionery company, Milanović said that Croatia would in no way be involved in the crisis if it escalated and that there would be no Croatian soldiers in that scenario.

Ukraine does not belong in NATO, the Croatian head of state said, adding that the European Union had triggered off a coup d'etat in Ukraine in 2014 when the pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted.

Western countries are warning about a growing threat of Russia's invasion on Ukraine, and therefore some of them have started to evacuate their diplomats from Kiev.

On the other hand, Moscow dismisses the claims that it is preparing an attack on its southwestern neighbour and insists on guarantees from the West that NATO will not expand towards the east or set up rocket systems along the borders with Russia.

Milanović believes that there are ways to preserve Ukraine in its entirety or 99% of its territory and to provide it with economic assistance. However, that country should not be part of NATO, just as, for instance, neutral Finland, Austria and Sweden are not members of that alliance, either, he said.

The ongoing crisis has nothing to do with Ukraine or Russia, it is connected with the dynamics of the U.S. internal policy led by President Joe Biden and his administration, the Croatian president said, adding that "matters of international security reflect inconsistencies and dangerous behaviour" by the U.S. administration.

Milanović says that the hawks in the Democratic Party as well as the hawks among Republicans, "who until recently justified the play-safe and peaceful policy" of former president Donald Trump towards Moscow, are now mounting pressure on the Pentagon and Biden to take a tough stance towards Russia.

"All that is happening in the antechamber of Russia. One must reach a deal that will take account of the security interests of Russia," said Croatia's president and supreme commander of the army.

If the situation escalates, Croatia will withdraw all its soldiers, he said, adding that Croatia has nothing to do with that crisis.

Milanović again criticised the engagement of Prime Minister Andrej Plenković in Ukraine.

He labelled former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych as "a swindler who sat on three chairs", adding that his ouster was a coup encouraged by the European Union and the administration in Washington at that time.

After the overthrow of Yanukovych in 2014, "the story was as follows," Milanović said: "Ukraine is going west, it has nothing in common with Russia, the customs union with Russia and former Soviet Union countries is bad for Ukraine, while the EU will be a land of milk and honey."

Eight years later, "Ukraine is still one of the most corrupt countries in the world, stagnating economically and it has got nothing from the EU," Milanović said.

He added that the confrontation with Russia has also produced detrimental effects on gas prices.