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There are no plans to integrate Ukraine into NATO: French envoy Lenain

New Delhi : Ambassador of France to India, Emmanuel Lenain on Thursday said that North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has no plans to integrate Ukraine into the organization. In an exclusive interview with media, the French envoy said, "There are no NATO troops on Ukrainian soil, no plan to integrate Ukraine into NATO. So, it's pure cold-blood aggression from a non-democratic country against a democracy. You have to call a spade a spade. Is it going to die soon? What I see is escalation right now." Regarding French and NATO's allies' help to Ukraine, he said, "We are helping Ukraine a lot. All the countries in Europe have decided to send equipment, weapons in addition to humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. We are also providing a lot of political support." Lenain also said that in record time, unprecedented sanctions against Russia were adopted after Moscow started its military operations in Ukraine. "In record time, we have been able to adopt unprecedented sanctions against Russia, its banking institutions, against the so-called oligarchs who are supporting the regime and it seems that the sanctions are starting to bite, in particular, the slump in the rate of the currency," said Lenain. He lamented over the loss of lives in the conflict, he said, "We are very preoccupied. Civilians dying from the conflict, hundreds of thousands of refugees leaving the country. It's not a usual conflict between two countries, it's aggression without provocation of any sort." The crisis between Ukraine and Russia deepened in January 2021, when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appealed the US President Joe Biden to let Ukraine enter NATO. Russia stated that its troops' deployment is in response to NATO's steady eastward expansion and argued that it aimed at protecting its own security considerations. However, the US ruled out changing NATO's "open-door policy" which means NATO would continue to induct more members. The US also said that it would continue to offer training and weapons to Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 21 signed a decree recognizing the independence of breakaway regions Donetsk and Luhansk. In the early hours of February 24, Russia launched a special military operation in the Donbas region of Ukraine after the recognition of Ukraine's breakaway regions - Donetsk and Luhansk - as independent identities.

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