NATO ‘Not Obliged’ to Assist Ukraine: German Ambassador

Berlin’s envoy to the military bloc clarifies that NATO won’t actively fight for a non-member state.

Germany’s permanent representative to NATO has explained that the US-led bloc is not obliged to offer direct military assistance to Ukraine. Ruediger Koenig added that its members want to avoid a major war.

He was speaking to Dein Spiegel, the youth version of Der Spiegel magazine, which published the interview on Saturday.

The Ukraine conflict dominated much of the article, with Koenig describing Russia’s decision to launch its offensive against its neighbor in late February as a watershed event.

“We had peace, and now we see all of a sudden that one country is attacking another one just like that, in Europe,” the official said, adding that no one could have imagined anything like that.

Germany’s representative to NATO stressed that the military alliance as a whole, however, has no legal obligation to help Kiev repel Moscow’s attack as Ukraine is not a member state. This means that Article 5 of NATO’s treaty cannot be activated, the official explained. Under it, an attack on one ally is considered to be an attack against the whole of NATO, with all member states having to stick up for the targeted nation.

According to Koenig, the military bloc is anxious to avoid getting actively involved in the conflict at all costs because “this would mean a very big war.”

Such a scenario, which would see 30 more nations join the fray, is something “nobody wants,” the diplomat noted.

When asked what can be done to help Ukraine, the envoy explained that individual member states are providing Kiev with weapons and money. Koenig went on to cite EU sanctions imposed on Russia over the past six months.

He concluded that the prospect of peace is rather slim as Ukraine and Russia’s positions seem to be irreconcilable. Koenig clarified that Ukraine “rightly” demands that Moscow cede all former Ukrainian regions in the south and east of the country that recently voted to join Russia, as well as Crimea, which joined the country in 2014. The official pointed out that the Kremlin, however, is unlikely to agree to such terms.

Dein Spiegel is a media that offers “exciting, understandably written stories” for children who “want to understand the world,” according to a description on its website. The magazine is published monthly.