Michael Flynn Says Ukraine's Independence 'Not Vital' to U.S. Interests

Michael Flynn, the disgraced former national security adviser who served under Donald Trump, has suggested that the U.S. should not get involved in Russia's invasion of Ukraine as independence for the Eastern European country is not a "vital" foreign policy concern.

Flynn, a former Army general turned major figure in the QAnon movement, questioned why the U.S. should be concerned with the conflict.

The conspiracy theorist went on to suggest that Ukraine should remain "neutral" and not join up with NATO as Putin could decide to further target other countries in the coalition who have assisted it during the war.

Flynn, who was pardoned by Trump after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia amid the Robert Mueller investigation, posted the remarks on the Telegram messaging service app, where he has more than 302,000 followers.

"I want our White House to clearly and simply articulate the national security interests the United States has given the situation in the Ukraine," Flynn said.

"Ukraine being an independent nation is a worthy goal for Ukraine, but Ukraine's independence is not vital to the United States. Ukraine is not a member of NATO, and, as things stand with the vast expansion of NATO, we now have 28 other nations to defend if only one of them is attacked.

"What if Putin decides to attack one of these Ukrainian NATO member states for transferring arms to Ukraine that are killing Russian soldiers? This war in Europe was completely avoidable had we worked to assure Ukraine neutrality...Globally, China is the big winner," he added.

Flynn's comments echo remarks previously made by Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

Carlson, who has been accused of mirroring Russian propaganda on his show during the Ukraine conflict, questioned why he should criticize Putin for launching the unprovoked attack or why Americans should be outraged as the Russian president was not responsible for a number of domestic issues conservatives have voiced concerns over down the years.

"Has Putin ever called me a racist? Has he threatened to get me fired for disagreeing with him?" Carlson said during a February 22 show ahead of the full-scale invasion.

"Has he shipped every middle-class job in my town to Russia? Did he manufacture a worldwide pandemic that wrecked my business and kept me indoors for two years? Is he teaching my children to embrace racial discrimination?"

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky has said it now seems unlikely Ukraine will join NATO as the war with Russia continues.

"We realized that Ukraine will not become a member of NATO. We understand this, we are adequate people," he said in a video posted Tuesday.

"Kyiv needs new formats of interaction with the West and separate security guarantees."

A number of experts raised the issue of whether Ukraine should remain neutral— such as Switzerland, Finland or Sweden—and not join NATO amid the Russia conflict.

Fotios Moustakis, associate professor in strategic studies at the University of Plymouth, told Al Jazeera that Ukraine neutrality is the "panacea" to solving the crisis.

Moustaki also suggested Finland, whose neutral position has weakened in recent decades, including joining the European Union and providing assistance with NATO military operations, is the "model that provides a reasonable path" in negotiations to end the war.

Graham Gill, professor emeritus at the University of Sydney, added that Ukraine neutrality would "go a long way" towards solving the crisis in Europe.

"In his ideal world, Putin may have dreamed of a Ukraine united with Russia in a single overarching state form, but events of the last weeks have shown that is a highly unlikely outcome," Gill said.

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Former National Security Advisor General Michael Flynn arrives for his sentencing hearing at US District Court in Washington, DC on December 18, 2018. Getty Images