Prospects of Ukraine’s NATO membership are actively discussed; a lot depends on Ukraine’s ability to fulfill the necessary requirements, stated John Bolton, U.S. National Security Advisor, at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “This is an important partnership […] The Bush Administration in April 2008 proposed to put in Ukraine and some other countries on fast track to NATO membership. That was not agreed to by some European colleagues, unfortunately. But now, I think, in this Administration in particular, there is active consideration given to Ukraine’s interest, a number of steps have been taken. A lot depends on Ukraine and fulfilling the necessary military and political requirements. […] Progress has been made, but there is still more to accomplish,” said Mr. Bolton.
Mr. Bolton expressed condolences of the U.S. to Ukraine for heavy losses that the Ukrainian army suffered on the frontline yesterday, on August 23rd. “ I underlined that we need the Minsk process to work, we need to get that resolved as soon as possible,” he noted.
The U.S. National Security Advisor emphasized that the White House did not change its stand on Crimea and does not recognize the illegal annexation of the peninsula. “In terms of U.S. sanctions against Russia – the sanctions remain in force and will remain in force until there is required change in Russian behavior. We have brought new sanctions into effect just within the past several weeks,” Mr. Bolton noted.
John Bolton said that one of the issues discussed during his meeting with Ukrainian President and Government was cooperation for the prevention of probable Russia’s attempts to meddle into upcoming Ukrainian elections in 2019. “It is a threat that a number of the countries in the West have seen, and we have made clear what our position is. […] President Poroshenko and I agreed that we will look at steps that the U.S. and Ukraine could take to look at election meddling here. We can do that through normal law enforcement channels and through other mechanisms,” he elaborated.
Energy security has also been discussed. “It’s just important from a policy point of view for Ukrainian Government to look on these alternative sources [of natural gas], particularly if the North Stream-2 goes through, and the pipeline Russia now uses through Ukraine leaves Ukraine and others at risks that Russians will not supply adequate gas, even if they commit to do that,” John Bolton emphasized. One of possible solutions for Ukraine, he said, may be to increase volumes of domestic natural gas extraction, in cooperation with the interested foreign companies.