Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during the NATO Summit, Vilnius, Lithuania, July 12, 2023
I joined China Radio International’s The World Today on Thursday to analyze the NATO Summit, the Ukraine counter-offensive against Russia’s invasion, and the path to Kyiv’s accession into the bloc after the defeat of Vladimir Putin’s War.
The outcome? A lesson in how the facts of Ukraine’s resistance — even though Beijing has distanced itself this year from Putin’s “special military operation” and warned him against any use of nuclear weapons — may disturb China’s State broadcasters.
At the outset, I knock back CRI’s misleading headline — omitted from the edited version of the interview — that Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy denounced the summit as “absurd”, pointing out both NATO’s acceleration of Ukraine’s candidacy and the further commitments of military, economic, and financial support.
I explain why NATO cannot offer membership to Ukraine during the counter-offensive against Russia, and why the organization does not set a timetable for admission.
But then the Chinese State broadcaster is unsettled by the detail about the aid pledged to Kyiv. Asked “Do you really believe the weapons given to Ukraine will bring the war to an end?”, I reply:
Well, they will help defend Ukraine. They will prevent Russia from overrunning Ukraine. Wouldn’t you agree that this is the priority: providing safety for Ukrainian civilians?
The interviewer, sounding agitated, cuts in, “How do you think Russia will respond?”
I explain, “When you punch a bully in the nose, the bully screams louder. So Russia is going to scream because it didn’t succeed. Russia will try to scare all of us, including China.”
When the interviewer tries the angle of “NATO involvement” in a war against Russia, I explain how NATO is involved to defend Ukraine, not to attack Moscow.
Then I am cut off. A producer at the station later told me that there were “Internet difficulties”.