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Ukraine's future is when Kyiv ends up in NATO

Dr. Michael Haltzel, Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute, sat down for an interview with Apostrof.

1. Do you agree with the following statement? Biden's visit to Kyiv means that Russia's strategy has failed. After the Munich Security Conference, Russia presumably planned to start new military actions to anticipate Ukrainian counter offensive after Ukraine received new types of the Western weapon. Whether Biden's visit will be a deterrent against the escalation of the war and the attempt of a new Russian attack on Kyiv? Russia’s strategy was failing even before Biden’s visit to Kyiv. His courageous action reinforced the U.S. support for Ukraine. I doubt, however, that the visit will serve as a deterrent to escalation.

2. Do you agree with this statement? Comment your opinion. The last time the American president visited Ukraine was 15 years ago. The lack of strategic vision 15 years ago led to the tragedy of 02/24/22. In the first 18 years of its independence, Ukraine was one of the priorities for the United States. But then it started to roll back to the periphery. The final price of Ukraine's non- admission to NATO turned out to be much higher than the price of Ukraine's possible membership in the Alliance, and this price is constantly increasing. Ukraine has always been one of the top priorities in Europe for the U.S. The fact remains, however, that Ukraine was not prepared for NATO membership. If it

had been – and if it had been admitted – the world would obviously look much different today. But such counter-factual arguments don’t get us very far.

3. At the Munich Conference in 2007, Vladimir Putin announced a new Cold War for the Western world. What were the biggest miscalculations during these 16 years? What the missteps are - apart from attempts to appease Putin and a gas needle for Berlin? Why did Europe and the USA find themselves at the point of relations with Russia where they are now? To what extent do you think this year's Munich conference is relevant to the challenges facing the international community? The Russian invasion of Georgia and the illegal Russian seizure of Crimea were actions that should have awakened all Western countries to Putin’s imperialistic designs. This year’s Munich conference shows that – finally – much of the international community (though not China, India, and the Global South) has recognized the challenges.

4. Putin announced that Russia is suspending participation in the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reduction. Ukrainian experts say this is just political blackmailing. Could you comment on this? The Ukrainian experts are correct in their assessment.

5. It is increasingly difficult for China to appear neutral in the Ukrainian- Russian war. Beijing sold chips and other technology for Russian weapons. Now there are rumors that China will transfer weapons ready for combat use to Russia. In the US, they say that China wants to start a new cold war and therefore launches spy balloons. The US is concerned that it may not have enough long-range missiles to repel its own threats, so the States are not ready to provide ATACMS systems to Ukraine. In your opinion, will China continue to play into Moscow's hands more and more brazenly and openly? Can Chinese provocations reduce support for Ukraine?

China does not want to see its fellow authoritarian state, Russia, suffer a humiliating defeat in Ukraine. It also remembers Russian assistance in the Korean War and elsewhere. Nonetheless, China’s support of Russia is not unconditional. Xi has made clear to Putin that China is completely against the use of nuclear weapons. Washington is pressing Beijing not to deliver armaments to Moscow. Coming at a low point in U.S.-China relations, the American pressure may not be sufficient to prevent the deliveries.

6. In Ukraine, we see our war like this - the USA and the West control the escalation at the expense of the human lives of Ukrainians. Because if all the necessary weapons were provided to Ukraine as soon as possible, Russia would have suffered a much greater defeat and the Ukrainian army would have saved many more lives of the civilian population. What processes in your sphere of expertise will take place in the next six months in the confrontation between the West and Ukraine against Russia? Again, although I understand Ukrainian feelings, such incendiary counter-factual arguments only contribute to a poisonous “blame game” and ultimately strengthen the opponents of assistance to Ukraine. They are completely counter- productive.

Original interview, in Ukranian, can be found here.

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