Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced Friday that Ukraine has submitted an “expedited” application to join NATO. This announcement comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the annexation of four occupied areas in eastern and southern Ukraine where pseudo-referendums widely denounced as illegitimate and false were organized.
“We take a decisive step by signing Ukraine’s request for accelerated accession to NATO,” Zelensky said in a video message. “We have already tested compatibility with Alliance standards. They are real for Ukraine, real on the battlefield and in all aspects of our interaction. We trust each other, we help each other and we protect each other”, added the president. Entry into the Alliance of a new member must be approved by all NATO members.
The Ukrainian leader has closed the door to a possible dialogue with Putin after the annexation. Ukraine offered to “agree to coexistence on equal, honest, dignified and fair terms”, Zelensky has said, but this is “impossible with this Russian president”. “We are ready to dialogue with Russia, but with another president of Russia.”
In his speech, the president mentioned the accession process launched this year by Finland and Sweden following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “We know that it is possible”, Zelenski has said in relation to carrying out a process in an “accelerated” manner. “We have seen Finland and Sweden start joining the Alliance this year without a Membership Action Plan. This is fair. It is also fair for Ukraine.”
The president has indicated that, however, he understands that in order to join the Alliance, the consensus of all the members is needed. “While this is happening, we propose to implement our proposals regarding security guarantees for Ukraine and the whole of Europe in accordance with the kyiv Security Treaty, developed and presented to our partners.”
At the NATO summit in April 2008, held in Bucharest, the Atlantic alliance agreed that Georgia and Ukraine would join the organization, but since then no steps have been taken to formalize that entry. “It has been shown that it was a mistake because it was not fulfilled. Either you comply or you don’t. It was said too lightly to the extent that there was obviously no real political will on the western side”, said the expert Carmen Claudín in an interview with elDiario.es.
During the peace negotiations held in March, Ukraine and Russia agreed on a draft that contemplated a ceasefire and the Russian withdrawal if Ukraine declared itself neutral and renounced entering the military alliance, as reported by the Financial Times.
In a report commissioned by Zelensky on Ukraine’s alternatives to joining NATO, and revealed this month, it was proposed that Ukraine receive military and intelligence aid, military exercises with the European Union and security guarantees from a group of countries that includes Turkey.