Ukrainian officials are slamming comments made by Stian Jenssen, the director of the Private Office of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General, who said in published remarks that ceding territory to Russia could be a way for Kyiv to achieve peace and join the military alliance.
"Trading territory for a NATO umbrella? It is ridiculous. That means deliberately choosing the defeat of democracy, encouraging a global criminal, preserving the Russian regime, destroying international law, and passing the war on to other generations," Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office, said in a social media post.
Jenssen, who has been in his current NATO role since 2017, made his comments in an interview with the Norwegian newspaper, Verdens Gang.
Oleg Nikolenko, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, also criticized the remarks.
"Discussions about Ukraine's accession to NATO in exchange for giving up part of its territories are absolutely unacceptable. We have always believed that the Alliance, like Ukraine, does not trade territories," Nikolenko said in a Facebook post.
Nikolenko added that the "conscious or unconscious involvement of NATO officials in shaping the narrative" surrounding Ukraine potentially ceding territories "plays into Russia's hands." Rather, he said, "It is in the interests of Euro-Atlantic security to discuss ways to accelerate Ukraine's victory and its full membership in NATO."