Come clean with Ukraine over NATO, expert urges

Western powers should come clean and admit that Ukraine will never be admitted to NATO, author and expert on Russia Peter Conradi said at Buxton International Festival.

The Sunday Times Foreign Editor, whose latest book poses the question “Who Lost Russia? How the World Entered a New Cold War”, said the issue of Ukraine’s membership was a stumbling block to any deal which might be made with America.

The Orange Revolution which helped free the country from Russian influence had left an intractable problem for future relations. Now Ukraine, split by a civil war, wanted the security of NATO and even European Union membership.

“NATO is never going to bring the Ukraine into the club and they should come clean about it,” said Mr Conradi.

“That would remove a huge matter of dispute with Russia.”

Ukraine was seen by Russians as such a part of their sphere of influence that when it was given its current boundaries in the Soviet era it had “been a bit like redrawing the borders of English counties – nobody thought it was highly significant,” he said.

“Who Lost Russia?” was named after the political inquest by the Americans after World War Two into how China became Communist.

Buxton International Festival’s book programme continues until July 23 with talks by, among others, Raffaello Pantucci on Britain’s home-grown terrorists, Jeremy Greenstock on the cost of the Iraq war and David Starkey on the First Brexiteer – Henry VIII.

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