Ukraine applied for NATO membership following Russian annexation.
In reaction to Moscow officially annexing four regions of Ukraine, Kyiv on Friday formally requested an “accelerated accession” to NATO, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
“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,” Zelenskyy said during a video address.
All 30 of the alliance’s members must vote in unison to accept a new member.
Russia used this as a pretext for initiating the invasion of Ukraine in February after it demanded legally enforceable pledges from Kyiv that it would not join the security alliance led by the United States.
Following a speech in which Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to employ all of his resources to defend four Ukrainian regions following annexation referendums, Zelenskyy made his declaration. European nations denounced the referendums as an excuse to further “violate” Ukraine’s sovereignty.
Although Ukraine has long claimed that it won’t stop fighting until Russian soldiers completely leave the country, Putin urged Kyiv to halt military action during his speech and said Moscow was ready to engage in dialogue but wouldn’t give up the four newly incorporated Ukraine regions.
Zelenskyy responded in his own speech by stating that while Ukraine was willing to engage in dialogues, doing so with Putin would be “impossible” and would have to be with different another Russian president.