The concern of Ukrainians that the fate of Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic integration could be decided in one way or another during future talks between U.S President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin is well-understood in the United States so the Euro-Atlantic path will remain the sovereign right of Ukraine and its NATO and EU partners, according to former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor.
He said this on Thursday during a round table discussion organized by the European Policy Center (EPC), answering a question from an Ukrinform correspondent on whether Biden and Putin can discuss certain "red lines," in particular, on excluding the possibility for Ukraine to join the EU and NATO.
"Your concern that President Biden not negotiate with President Putin over Ukraine issues is valid and well-understood in the United States. I am sure that there will be no 'deal' between Mr. Biden and Mr. Putin on Ukraine that would exclude Ukraine from the EU or NATO," Taylor said.
He noted that Ukraine is a sovereign country and has all the rights of any sovereign country around the world. There are no big countries with sovereign rights and small countries with less sovereign rights, he said. Therefore, Ukraine, as a sovereign state, has to decide, along with its partners in the EU and NATO, whether or not to join those organizations, Taylor said. He added that this should be a sovereign decision of Ukraine and its partners, and "no one can take that away."
"Ukraine is on the eastern border of Europe, and it's defending Europe and the West, and the United States as well, from the Russian aggression. That's why the support is important. I would strongly hope that the NATO summit would invite President [Volodymyr] Zelensky to come and talk with those leaders and, in particular, with President Biden before President Biden goes to see President Putin. I think that would be a very important message. I hope that happens," Taylor said.
The NATO summit will be held in Brussels on June 14 to discuss ways to strengthen NATO's transatlantic partnership and development for the next decade. The participation of NATO partner countries in this summit is not envisaged.