Chief of Staff of the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Alliance, Stian Jenssen, apologized for his statement that Ukraine could join NATO in exchange for "giving up" part of its territory.
“My statement on this matter was part of a broader discussion about possible future scenarios in Ukraine and I shouldn't have said that. It was a mistake," he said.
Earlier, on August 15, the Chief of Staff of the Secretary General of the Alliance, Stian Jenssen, admitted that Ukraine could join NATO in exchange for “giving up” part of its territory. Subsequently, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Security and Defense Council responded to Jenssen, emphasizing that Ukraine does not trade territories and should not “touch nerves” with Ukrainians.
Subsequently, the bloc's official representative confirmed in a comment that the North Atlantic Alliance fully supports Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. "The position is clear and has not changed", he said.
By the way, in July, after the results of the NATO summit, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukraine will never relinquish its territories, “even if it is a village where one grandfather lives”.
On September 30, 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Ruslan Stefanchuk and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal signed an application for Ukraine's accession to NATO in an accelerated procedure. The relevant procedure provides for accession to NATO without a MAP.
On the same day, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg said that Ukraine's accession to NATO depends on the consent of all 30 allies. The leaders of a number of Central and Eastern European countries have officially supported Ukraine's membership in NATO.
Ukraine has pushed back a NATO official for suggesting it might cede territory to Russia to pave its way to membership in a military alliance. Stian Jenssen, chief of staff to the NATO secretary general, made the suggestion during a panel discussing Ukraine's post-war security arrangements in Arendal, Norway, on Tuesday.
"I think the solution for Ukraine could be to give up territory and get NATO membership instead," he told Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang.
Asked whether the official NATO position is that Ukraine should give up land to join NATO, Jenssen said: "I'm not saying it has to be that way. But it may be a likely solution."
Jenssen was careful about emphasizing NATO's official line: that it was up to Ukraine to decide how and when to engage with Russia. But despite this, his comments were quickly dismissed by a top Ukrainian official as “ridiculous” and “terrifying indulgence for murderers”.
“Trading territory for the NATO umbrella? It's ridiculous”, Mikhail Podoliak, the chief of staff of the Ukrainian president, tweeted.