NATO Chief of staff General Secretariat Stian Jenssen raised the possibility of Ukraine joining the alliance in exchange for territorial concessions to Russia, in an interview with Norwegian media outlet Verdens Gang on Tuesday August 15.

In an interview with Norwegian media outlet Verdens Gang on Tuesday, August 15th, Stian Jenssen, the General Secretariat Chief of Staff of NATO, discussed the potential for Ukraine’s inclusion in the alliance. He mentioned the idea of Ukraine’s membership being considered in conjunction with potential territorial compromises with Russia.

However, Jenssen tempered his remarks by pointing out that this would only be a possibility, with the final choice remaining the prerogative of the Ukrainians.

The Ukrainian response was not tardy, as Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said on Tuesday evening that Jenssen’s comments were absolutely unacceptable.

“We have always assumed that the Alliance, like Ukraine, does not exchange its territories. The conscious or unconscious involvement of NATO officials in crafting a narrative about Ukraine’s refusal to leave its territories plays into Russia’s hands. It is in the interests of Euro-Atlantic security to discuss ways of accelerating Ukraine’s victory and full membership of NATO,” he declared in a Facebook post (Meta).

As a reminder, Russia controls a substantial part of four Ukrainian regions: Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporrijjia and Kherson.

While previous counter-offensives had succeeded in liberating large swathes of Russian-occupied territory, the latest initiative launched by Ukrainian forces in June 2023 appears to be stymied by the Kremlin’s reinforced defenses.

Ukraine’s membership of NATO is currently blocked by its members on economic, political and, military grounds.

Under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, all member states must intervene to defend one of their number if attacked by a third party.

Ukraine’s accession at the present time would therefore mean the rest of the Alliance would go to war, with potentially catastrophic repercussions for the rest of the world.