UPDATED: Ukraine sees NATO, EU membership as priority- Zelenskiy’s spokesman

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Ukraine’s aspirations to join NATO and the European Union are envisaged in its constitution and remain the absolute priority to the country, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s spokesman said on Monday responding to a Ukrainian ambassador’s reported comments.

“This course is not only reflected in the Constitution, but is also the full consent of the authorities and society,” spokesman Sergii Nykyforov told Reuters.

Ukraine’s ambassador to Britain on Monday clarified earlier remarks about possibly dropping a bid for NATO membership, saying that the former Soviet republic would not be reconsidering its attempt to join the military alliance.

Ambassador Vadym Prystaiko told the BBC he welcomed the opportunity to clarify his earlier remarks.

Earlier the BBC quoted the country’s ambassador to Britain as saying that Ukraine could drop its bid to join NATO to avoid war with Russia, in what would amount to a major concession to Moscow in response to the build-up of Russian troops on its borders.

Ukraine’s ambassador to Britain on Monday clarified earlier remarks about possibly dropping a bid for NATO membership, saying that the former Soviet republic would not be reconsidering its attempt to join the military alliance.

Asked whether or not Ukraine might reconsider its ambitions to join NATO, Ambassador Vadym Prystaiko told the BBC in English: “No this is not and I am quite happy that I have this chance to clarify my position.”

Prystaiko said the earlier BBC report was the result of a misunderstanding.

“We are not a member of NATO right now and to avoid war we are ready for many concessions and that is what we are doing in conversations with the Russians,” Prystaiko said. “It has nothing to do with NATO which is enshrined in the constitution.”

“It is not a delay to our ambitions to be in NATO – what we are talking about is that we are not in the family now so we have to look for something else like bilateral agreements with the UK, with the United States,” he said. “So on top of NATO we are looking for some other arrangements which would allow us to survive at this particular ordeal right now.”

Asked again if Ukraine was shifting its bid to become a NATO member, he said: “No.”

Photo – A woman walks past an illuminated sign that reads ‘I love Ukraine’ in the central square in Kiev, Ukraine, amid tensions on the Ukraine – Russian border. EPA-EFE/ZURAB KURTSIKIDZE

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