Ukraine Applies for NATO Membership, Rules out Putin Talks

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday announced that he had applied for his country to join the NATO military alliance under what he called “an accelerated procedure.”

Zelenskyy, his prime minister, and the speaker of parliament signed the paperwork in an online video after Russian President Vladimir Putin proclaimed the annexation of four partially occupied Ukrainian regions as Russian land. 

In the video, Zelenskyy, who wore combat fatigues, said Ukraine was taking a “decisive step” by applying for a fast-tracked accession to shift the current alliance from being “de facto” to “de jure,” or legally recognized.

“We are de facto allies. This has already been achieved. De facto, we have already completed our path to NATO. De facto, we have already proven interoperability with the alliance’s standards,” Zelenskyy said in the video on the Telegram app.

Zelenskyy said Ukraine is already demonstrating NATO’s standards for membership “on the battlefield and in all aspects” of the country’s current interactions with member countries.

“We trust each other, we help each other, and we protect each other. This is what the alliance is: de facto. Today, Ukraine is applying to make it ‘de jure’ under a procedure consistent with our significance for the protection of our entire community, under an accelerated procedure,” he added.

It was not immediately clear what an “accelerated” application means, as ascension to NATO requires the unanimous support of all members.

Ukraine’s admittance to the NATO alliance is something Putin in February demanded never happen. Putin views NATO as hostile to Russia’s interests.

Zelenskyy Rules Out Talks With Putin

Zelenskyy ruled out talks with Putin saying that while Kyiv remained committed to co-existing with Russia “on equal, honest, dignified, and fair conditions,” it would need to be under a different Russian president.

“Clearly, with this Russian president [that] is impossible. He does not know what dignity and honesty are. Therefore, we are ready for a dialogue with Russia, but with another president of Russia,” Zelenskyy said.

In his video speech, Zelenskyy vowed to liberate all of Ukraine’s regions from Russia and said Putin is not just an enemy of Ukraine but “of life itself, of humanity.”

“Russia knows this. Russia feels our power,” Zelenskyy said, adding Putin is “in a hurry” to declare victory in the four Ukrainian regions because he sees that Ukraine is “proving the strength of our values.”

“It is staging this farce annexation. It is trying to steal that which does not belong to it. It wants to kill, to torture, to blackmail, and lie in order to rewrite history and redraw borders. Ukraine will not allow this,” Zelenskyy said.

The Ukrainian president suggested NATO take up his proposed Kyiv Security Compact while the country waits for consensus among NATO member states over Ukraine’s admittance.

“We understand that this requires the consensus of all the alliance’s members … and therefore, while this is happening, we propose the realization of our proposals regarding security guarantees for Ukraine and all of Europe according to the Kyiv Security Compact,” he said.

Caden Pearson

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Caden Pearson is a reporter based in Australia. Contact him on caden.pearson@epochtimes.com.au



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