Boris Johnson demands Ukraine joins NATO as soon as possible

Boris Johnson addresses Ukraine joining NATO in Parliament

Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson blasted claims that Ukraine joining NATO would be “provocative” to Russia, calling the allegation “ludicrous”. Mr Johnson said Vladimir Putin has shown he is willing to attack Ukraine, despite it not being a member of NATO and because it is not a member of the defence bloc.

Boris Johnson demanded that the Government changes its official policy to support Ukraine’s accession into NATO, and make “necessary preparations” for them doing so.

He said this summer’s Vilnius summit will “be an important test of NATO’s willingness to fulfil its long-standing promises to Ukraine”.

“Does my Right Honourable friend agree with me that he’s now ludicrous to say that Ukraine’s NATO membership might be in some way provocative to Russia, since Putin has shown what he is willing to do when Ukraine is not a member of NATO? And because Ukraine is not a member of NATO?

“Does he agree it should, therefore, be the policy of the Government that Ukraine should be invited to make the necessary preparations to join as soon as possible under the rules for the sake of clarity and stability and peace in Europe?”

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly commended the former Prime Minister and placed on record his “gratitude” for his leadership in No10 when Russia invaded last year.

Mr Cleverly said NATO’s position on Ukraine is “unambiguous”, and that an invitation has been put out for the country to join NATO.

He added it’s “incredibly important that that is not taken off the table”.

The Foreign Secretary agreed with Boris Johnson that Russia was the cause of aggression in Ukraine, rather than NATO expansion into Eastern Europe.

“Ukraine’s desire to join NATO was an entirely understandable defensive posture because of that threat from the east.”

In January, Boris Johnson called for Ukraine to join NATO, warning that Russia was planning a “counter-punch” offensive in the spring, which needed to be forestalled.

He added: “What is the result of our decades-long failure to live up to our promise and admit the Ukrainians to the shelter of the Nato defensive umbrella?”

“The result is the bloodiest war in Europe for 80 years. For the sake of clarity and stability and long-term peace, it is now clear, which it wasn’t before Putin’s invasion, that Ukraine must join.”

“Will [Putin] escalate with a battlefield nuclear weapon? Really? I don’t believe it for a second. If Putin were so insane as to go nuclear, he would in a trice lose all the world’s swing voters – from Africa, the Middle East, Asia – who are currently willing to cut him so much slack.

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“He wants to make us talk about nuclear weapons, because he wants to portray his war of choice as a standoff between NATO and Russia.

“It is no such thing. It is a brutal and unprovoked attack on a blameless European country, and all Ukraine’s friends are doing is to help that country defend itself.”

Mr Johnson’s view on NATO membership for Ukraine appears to have hardened since his time in No10, having warned as Prime Minister that Ukraine won’t be joining the defensive bloc “any time soon”.

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