Updated May 21st, 2022 at 19:11 IST

Former US ambassador to Russia claims Washington 'was lying to Ukraine about NATO bid'

McFaul’s remarks came as NATO's Stoltenberg claimed that Alliance was “confident that we will come to a quick decision" to welcome Finland, Sweden.

Reported by: Zaini Majeed
Image: AP | Image:self

Former US Ambassador to Russia, Michael Anthony McFaul on Friday, May 20 said that Washington has been “lying to Ukraine” about its NATO bid since 2021. At the semi-annual Munk Debates, Harvard international affairs professor Stephen Walt was highlighting that throughout 2021, the US was cheerleading for Ukraine to join NATO despite Russia’s concerns about the defensive Alliance's eastward expansion. Walt underscored Moscow’s Russia’s longstanding opposition to NATO expansion which he stressed poses a threat to Russia’s regional security. 

“In 2021 we kept reiterating that Ukraine was going to join [NATO]. We kept saying that, over and over again,” Walt noted. To this, US ambassador McFaul replied, “Did you believe that?” He then asserted “our [US] diplomats were lying when offering Ukraine NATO membership to Ukraine,” adding “Yes! Yes! That’s the real word!” 

The ambassador that served in office from 2012 to 2014 claimed that diplomats in Washington have been “lying all the time” about NATO membership of Ukraine, dismissing the threat to Russian security, and sarcastically adding “yet the Russians should trust them.” Walt then questioned the US ambassador’s controversial remark, asking whether it was “a common practice” for diplomats like McFaul in Washington to lie or make casual statements. “So our diplomats are lying?” Walt asked McFaul.  “That’s the real world,” the latter reiterated. 

McFaul’s remarks came as NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg claimed in Copenhagen, Denmark that the Alliance was “confident that we will come to a quick decision to welcome both Sweden and Finland to join the NATO family.” “We are addressing the concerns that Turkey has expressed, because when an important ally [like] Turkey raises security concerns, raises issues, then, of course, the only way to deal with that is to sit down and find common ground,” the NATO Secretary-General told reporters.

Biden says Finland, and Sweden have ‘full, complete backing’ of US

US President Joe Biden on Thursday this week welcomed Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson to the White House as the two Nordic nations submitted their membership to NATO. The meeting between the three leaders allowed them "to coordinate on the path forward" and "compare notes" on the move. Speaking at the White House in a trilateral press conference with Swedish and Finnish counterparts, Biden said that Sweden and Finland will "make NATO stronger." 

"It’s a very, very great day. I’m proud to welcome and offer the strong support of the United States for the applications of two great democracies, and two close, highly capable partners, to join the strongest, most powerful defensive alliance in the history of the world," US President Joe Biden said. "Two proud independent countries exercising their sovereign right all states possess to decide their own security," he added. Biden stressed that Finland and Sweden "make Nato stronger." He reiterated that "a strong, united NATO is the foundation of America’s security. New members joining NATO are not a threat to any nation. It never has been. NATO's purpose is to defend against [Russian]aggression." 


Published May 21st, 2022 at 19:11 IST