If Ukraine is admitted into the U.S.-led NATO military alliance, then the conflict in Ukraine would be sure to escalate into World War Three, a Russian Security Council official was quoted as saying on Thursday, October 13th. Merely hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin formally proclaimed the annexation of up to 18% of Ukraine on September 30th, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced a surprise bid for fast-track membership of NATO.
Full NATO membership for Ukraine is still far off because all the alliance’s 30 members would have to consent mutually. “Kyiv is well aware that such a step would mean a guaranteed escalation to World War Three,” said Alexander Venediktov, the deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council. Venediktov, deputy to Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, a strong Putin ally, said he felt Ukraine’s application was propaganda as the West understood the consequences of Ukrainian membership of NATO.
“NATO members understand the suicidal nature of such a step,” he added. President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly rallied against the United States for driving NATO’s eastward expansion; especially its courting of ex-Soviet republics such as Ukraine and Georgia, which Russia regards as part of its sphere of influence.