US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is pressuring European diplomats to cease any talks about Ukraine joining NATO, according to a member of Rada (the Ukrainian parliament), Oleksiy Goncharenko.
This is no minor politician.
The son of a former Odessa mayor, he is a member of the Ukrainian Permanent Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). The allegations were publicly made in a series of texts posted in his Telegram channel (in Ukrainian). He wrote:
“Unfortunately, there will be no NATO [for Ukraine]. Forget about it - it won't happen.”
Goncharenko claims that “several sources” in Washington told him the topic of Ukraine’s accession to the Atlantic Alliance “annoys the US elite” and even “after war” the country should not expect it.
The politician also commented on the ongoing friction between the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, General Valery Zaluzhny. According to Goncharenko, Washington is “not happy” about it. In addition, he says, one should expect the next aid package to Ukraine to be the last one: “In a year, at the end of 2024, we will not be given any more money… Most likely, we will switch to a credit form of cooperation. They’ll give a loan. Not a grant that won’t need to be repaid.”
Could such allegations be a fabrication created for propaganda purposes? There is no reason to think so and the logic of it in this case would be far from clear. In fact, Goncharenko’s claims make perfect sense in light of what we already know by now.
We know the US has been pressuring its ally to hold elections. Moreover, the US Mission to NATO last month posted on X (formerly Twitter) a vague message about Washington being “focused on setting the conditions for a just, durable, and sustainable peace” in Ukraine. We also know that European Union (EU) member states are divided over the bloc’s common budget, including additional funding for Kyiv in 2024.
In addition, Pulitzer winner journalist Seymour Hersh has written that, according to his American diplomacy and intelligence sources, the aforementioned General Valery Zaluzhny has been directly negotiating a peace deal with Russian general Valery Gerasimov, independently of Zelensky, who is described as a “wild card”. According to the journalist: “The two generals may continue to talk and Putin may indeed be interested in a settlement that gives him permanent control of Crimea and the four provinces he has claimed, but Zelensky remains the wild card. The American official said that Zelensky has been told that “this is a military-to-military problem to solve and the talks will go on with or without you.” If necessary, the American official told me, “We can finance his voyage to the Caribbean’.”
We know that the unprecedented sanctions against the Russian Federation have been backfiring since the beginning, with the Eurasian great power reaching record trade surplus as early as May 2022. That has sparked division within the European continent, and how de-industralized post-Nord Stream Europe has been hurt by the ongoing conflict and by American subsidy war.
As early as April 2023, as I wrote, former US ambassador to Finland, Earle Mack wrote that the US-led West had been “propping up Ukraine to fight a proxy war” but he could only see “a decade of death and chaos” for the country.
In May Zelensky was planning a number of bold actions against Russia, including bombing the Druzhba pipeline that provides Russian oil to Hungary (a NATO member), and even occupying Russian villages plus targeting the Russian Federation with long-range missiles. Such plans crossed some red lines and were a huge problem from the point of view of both the US and that of Ukraine’s neighbors.
That same month, aforementioned Serymour Hersh also reported that countries such as Hungary, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, and the Czech Republic, led by Poland (with Germany playing some role in it too) had been pressuring the Ukrainian leader “to find a way to end the war, even by resigning himself if necessary, and to allow the process of rebuilding his nation to get under way.” According to Hersh’s CIA source at the time, these European leaders had “made it clear that ‘Zelensky can keep what he’s got - a villa in Italy and interests in offshore bank accounts - ‘if he works up a peace deal even if he’s got to be paid off, if it’s the only way to get a deal’.” Few months later, in September, Poland stopped sending Ukraine weapons, allegedly over a trade dispute, as bilateral relations deteriorated.
All of this points to a clear picture emerging, one that had been haunting Ukraine for a while: Western abandonment and betrayal - something of which Washington has a solid record. From an European perspective, the picture is even more dramatic: it is about the bloc’s own interests. As I wrote, in December 2021, American and European energy interests are far from converging and in fact the energy crisis in that part of the Old World is something that has benefited Washington, while hurting its European allies - and the same can be said about the American proxy attrition war in Eastern Europe. It is about time to admit NATO’s expansion has been a recipe for disaster and about time to admit Ukraine has a far-right problem and a problem with the way it deals with the Russian minority - and not just in Donbass. And all of that is a problem for Europe, too.
It remains to be seen how European leaders will conduct their policy pertaining to Ukraine and also to the strategic energy interests of the continent. One may expect many European voices urging the bloc to reconsider sanctions against Russia, for instance, as has been the case already. For a start, it could reconsider its stance on the issue of the rights of ethnic minorities.