- BBC News World
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Friday that his country has formally applied to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) using the accelerated accession mechanism.
The request was made on the same day that Vladimir Putin’s government announced the annexation into the Russian Federation of four regions of Ukraine captured by Russian troops since the war began in February this year.
“We are taking our decisive step by signing Ukraine’s application for accelerated NATO membership,” Zelensky said in a statement, stressing that his country has already advanced on the path to NATO membership by demonstrating compatibility with the Atlantic alliance’s standards.
“The real ones [los estándares] For Ukraine, real on the battlefield and in all aspects of our relations. We trust each other and protect each other. It’s an alliance, a practice. Today, Ukraine is applying to do so Judge“, he pointed out.
The Ukrainian president also warned Moscow that “he is going to liberate all the territories of Ukraine.”
“Although it will not be easy, we are sure that we will achieve it. We have already made significant progress in the East and we will continue on that path,” Zelensky said in a message sent through social networks.
The Accelerated Entry Mechanism is a process that allows a country to join NATO without having previously had a Membership Action Plan (MAP), whereby the organization provides individual support and advice to each country. According to the standard of alliance.
Although this is the usual procedure for admissions, Zelensky recently noted Finland and Sweden used an accelerated entry mechanism It stands to reason that Ukraine could do the same.
Finland and Sweden were able to join NATO months after the two countries decided to apply to join the alliance, spurred by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
From Resignation to Petition
Although NATO membership has been Ukraine’s aspiration for years and enshrined in the country’s constitution since 2019, Putin has strongly opposed such a possibility, saying it represents an existential threat to Russia.
Indeed, before invading Ukraine in February this year, Moscow demanded legal guarantees that Kiev would never be admitted to the US-led military alliance.
Many analysts later viewed the claim as one of many pretexts used by Russia to invade Ukraine.
After the start of this armed occupation ordered by Putin, Zelensky seemed to have given up on the possibility of joining NATO. And noted that his country must accept that they can never join that alliance.
At the time, some analysts considered it a peaceful gesture, opening the door to a possible peace deal with Moscow.
However, Russia’s decision to annex Ukrainian territory on Friday, with its troops seizing Donetsk, Luhansk, Jershon and Zaporizhia — after holding polls deemed fraudulent by the international community — appears to have prompted Zelensky to change positions.
“Belonging to NATO”
On the other hand, spokesmen for the US and Canadian governments, which are NATO members, said they had agreed to Ukraine’s entry into the organization.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken did not rule out Ukraine’s entry into the alliance, though he avoided answering questions about whether his country would support Ukraine’s swift entry.
“I repeat that NATO’s doors are still open to Ukraine. There is a well-known process for countries that want to join NATO,” the US diplomatic chief said at a press conference on Friday.
Blinken clarified that the accelerated accession processes, as happened recently in Sweden and Finland, were due to the fact that the two countries had been NATO partners for many years.
“I think that explains the speed of the entry process for Sweden and Finland,” the secretary of state said.
However, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Jolie said, “Ukraine should be part of NATO.”
“This has been our position for more than a decade, we firmly believe in the open door principle,” the Canadian minister said.
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