Former NATO leader acknowledges that allies are «somehow» part of the war in Ukraine

Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the European Parliament’s Committee on Defense and Foreign Affairs – PARLAMENTO EUROPEO/ERIC VIDAL

Former NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen acknowledged Tuesday that NATO members are «somehow» involved in the war in Ukraine by sending military hardware to Kiev, although he defended that NATO as such is not a party to the conflict and will not send troops to the ground.

«NATO is not a party to the war. On whether we consider each ally individually as part of the war, partly yes, we should not hide this,» Rasmussen said in a speech to the Committee on Defense and Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament, to then point out that Ukraine has the right to defend itself and to ask for help from its partners, so the military assistance of the allies is in accordance with international law under the UN Charter.

«We should not be surprised that, more or less, we are part of this war to defend Ukraine. This is perfectly in accordance with international law,» he remarked in front of the MEPs.

Rasmussen stressed that while Europe is discussing the progress of the war, human lives are being lost in Ukraine, so he defended sending all the weapons Ukraine needs to wage war against Russia. «We have a responsibility to put an end to the war and the more and heavier weapons and the sooner they are sent to Ukraine, the sooner we will be able to put an end to this war,» he has defended.

The also former Danish prime minister has regretted that the discussions on military aid between allies, including what they exclude supplying to Kiev, has given leeway to the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. However, shortly after he ruled out the use of nuclear weapons or the presence of NATO countries’ troops on the ground.

«Apart from that I don’t think we should exclude anything. A peace with a dictator will not lead to peace but to conflict and war. Because a dictator’s appetite knows no end,» he defended in front of the MEPs.

SECURITY AGREEMENT WITH UKRAINE The former NATO political chief has defended a security agreement to give a «framework» to rebuild and help Ukraine on its way to the EU and NATO. «Accession will take time and this agreement is about improving its security now and in the future,» he has expounded.

To enable Ukraine to be able to defend itself against the Russian threat, the allies must offer a «sustainable» and «multi-decade» commitment, he said, stressing that the plan involves strengthening the capacity of the Ukrainian army, sustaining military training of Ukrainian troops and developing the country’s military industry.

According to the Scandinavian politician, this pact, which does not seek to replace Ukraine’s accession to NATO, would avoid divisions among allies when its entry into NATO is debated, understanding that it will help its future accession. «It is de facto a codification of what we already do but with a strategic orientation,» he noted.

Despite signaling his commitment to Ukraine’s accession to NATO, Rasmussen admitted that he sees immediate membership as «complicated» because the Ukrainian authorities could invoke Article 5 and ask for military assistance from all NATO allies, pushing NATO into a direct war against Russia. «That is why I think it is better to introduce a security pact and give guarantees to Ukraine as a first step that can pave the way for NATO membership,» he added.

The former Danish premier has defended that the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Ukrainian territory is a condition for sitting down to negotiations with Moscow. «I don’t think that negotiations will determine the outcome of the war, it will be the positions on the battlefield,» he said.