KyivUkraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that his country is making an “expedited” application to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military alliance. Russia confirmed on Thursday that it would formally annex parts of Ukraine. Russia conducted a “referendum” in these areas of Ukraine, which the Ukrainian government and Western countries have called illegal.
“We are taking our decisive step by signing Ukraine’s application to join NATO soon,” Zelensky said. It is not immediately clear what an “expedited” application would mean, as joining NATO requires the unanimous support of coalition members.
Zelensky said, “We trust each other, we help each other, and we protect each other. This is the alliance.” He reiterated his commitment to re-incorporate all Ukrainian territories occupied by Russia into the country. “The entire region of our country will be freed from this enemy,” he said.
Responding to Putin’s call for talks, Zelensky said, “We are ready for talks with Russia, but…with any other Russian president.” (agency)