After Russian President Vladimir Putin signed treaties annexing parts of eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that his country would submit an expedited application to join NATO.
In a statement, Zelensky referred to Ukraine and NATO as “de facto” friends and announced that his nation would pursue formal membership in the organization.
Zelensky stated, “De facto, we have already demonstrated interoperability with the Alliance’s standards; they are real for Ukraine on the battlefield and in all facets of our engagement.”
“Today, Ukraine is attempting to formalize its status. In accordance with a procedure commensurate with our importance for the safety of our entire community. In an expedited manner,” the message stated.
Putin signed four “ascension treaties” on Friday to annex the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine, following referendums in those regions that the West deemed “fake” elections. Moscow, however, asserts that the areas desire to join Russia.
The proposal increased the stakes of the battle, in which Putin is desperate to change the tide in light of Ukraine’s recent counteroffensive advances.
Since Russia’s invasion of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, Ukraine has aspired to join NATO, which Moscow has opposed. While NATO has increased its military backing for Ukraine, Zelensky admitted in March that it was doubtful that his nation would join.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters that “any democracy in Europe” has the right to apply for NATO membership, but that the organization is more concerned with assisting Kyiv in its defense against the Russian invasion.
“NATO Allies expressed unequivocally at the NATO Summit in Madrid that we support Ukraine’s ability to choose its own path and select what kind of security arrangements it wants to be a part of. Then, a membership decision must be made by all 30 Allies, and these decisions are made by agreement, Stoltenberg stated.
“Our priority today is on providing immediate support to Ukraine in order to assist Ukraine in defending itself against the savage Russian invasion,” he stated. “This is the primary focus and effort of NATO Allies as we speak.”
Friday’s statement by Zelensky did not specify precisely when Ukraine would petition for NATO membership. However, it understands that all alliance members will need to approve its bid.
However, the statement indicated that Ukraine may join through an accelerated approach since Finland and Sweden joined the alliance this year under the same terms.
“Security is vital. But determination is required to ensure success. “By signing Ukraine’s application for accelerated NATO membership, we are taking a crucial step,” Zelensky added.
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