Zelenskyy says Ukraine 'must admit' it won't join NATO and its people must 'rely on themselves and our partners who help us'
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukraine "must admit" it wouldn't join NATO.
- He added that Ukrainians "understand this and rely on themselves and our partners who help us."
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his country "must admit" that it wouldn't join NATO.
"It is clear that Ukraine is not a member of NATO. We understand that. We are adequate people," Zelenskyy said in a meeting with leaders of the Joint Expeditionary Force.
"For years, we have heard about the supposedly open door, but we have also heard that we should not enter, and this is true and we must admit it," he said of Ukraine's attempts to join NATO, which started as early as 2008.
But Zelenskyy added that security guarantees from NATO allies would be necessary to keep Ukraine safe amid Russia's invasion of the Eastern European country.
"The Russian invasion of Ukraine destroyed everything that security in our region — and I am sure international security — was based on," he said, "the weight of the organizations we all hoped for, the force of international conventions. It has also called into question the world's most powerful alliance, NATO."
Zelenskyy said Ukraine's skies needed to be protected the same way that NATO allies' skies were but added that he understood there was always a "but" in these situations.
"But what will be NATO's response to allies in Eastern Europe if they are already seeking protection, if Russian missiles hit, God forbid, if Russian planes" enter their territory? he asked, adding that Russian missiles had already struck about 12 miles from NATO borders.
"I ask you: Help yourself by helping us," he said. "You know what weapons we need. You know what means of protection we need. You know we crucially need airplanes. It would be extremely difficult for us without your efforts. I am grateful to you. But understand: We need more."
Zelenskyy added: "I am glad that our people are beginning to understand this and rely on themselves and our partners who help us."
Ukraine's first bid to join NATO took place in 2008, and its more recent push has been cited as largely the reason Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine last month.
Since then, Zelenskyy has said he's "cooled" on joining NATO, saying: "The alliance is afraid of controversial things and confrontation with Russia."
—ТРУХА⚡️English (@TpyxaNews) March 15, 2022
Translations by Oleksandr Vynogradov.
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