Ukraine formally applies for fast-track NATO membership
Ukraine has formally applied for NATO membership under an accelerated procedure, President Volodymyr Zelensky said after Russia added four Ukrainian regions to its soil.
“Today, Ukraine is submitting an application to do this de jure... We are taking our decisive step by signing Ukraine’s application for accelerated membership in NATO,” the Ukrainian leader said via Telegram.
The development came soon after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree for the formal accession of four regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia to Russia, after people in these regions voted in favor of joining the Russian Federation in a referendum.
However, Zelensky said the votes breached international law and called the referendums “worthless.”
“Donbas is and will be Ukrainian. This is our land, our people. We will never give ours to the occupiers,” he said.
“De facto, we have already made our way to NATO. De facto, we have already proven our compatibility with the alliance’s standards. They are real for Ukraine – real on the battlefield and in all aspects of our cooperation,” Zelensky wrote.
In a video update, Zelensky also said that his country was “taking a decisive step for entire security of free nations”. He vowed to liberate the “entire territory” of his country.
Zelensky: No talks with Russia under Putin
The Ukrainian president also said that there will be no peace talks with Russia after Putin suggested that his government was “ready for negotiations.”
“Ukraine will not hold any negotiations with Russia as long as Putin is the president of Russian Federation,” Zelensky said, adding that “we will negotiate with the new president.”
Zelensky also said that Ukraine’s government proposes implementing the Kiev Security Compact until all NATO members reach an agreement on Ukraine joining the bloc.
Ukraine’s NATO membership application was signed by President Zelensky, chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament Ruslan Stefanchuk, and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.
On the other side of the ledger, Russia has repeatedly warned Ukraine against its membership proposals to NATO, calling the move a “purely destabilizing” measure.
Moscow has also warned the alliance against its further expansion towards its borders.
In his remarks on the Nordic countries’ bid to join NATO, Putin said the expansion of NATO’s military infrastructure into this territory would “certainly provoke our response.”
Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine was launched in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements and Moscow’s recognition of the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
At the time, Russian President Vladimir Putin said one of the goals of what he called a “special military operation” was to “de-Nazify” Ukraine.
Before sending its armed forces into Ukraine, Moscow was demanding legally binding guarantees that Ukraine would never be admitted to the US-led military alliance.
Since the onset of the war, the United States and its NATO allies have supplied billions of dollars worth of weaponry to Ukraine and imposed sanctions on Moscow.