Thu. May 30th, 2024

•Kiev’s constitution-enshrined bid for membership in the military bloc can’t be realized, Zelensky said

•Volodymyr Zelensky claimed NATO wouldn’t send troops to defend a member nation if it was attacked by Russia

NATO allies don’t want to see Ukraine among their ranks and Kiev realizes that, President Volodymyr Zelensky told Western leaders on Tuesday. Now Kiev seeks protection from individual member states.

“We’ve been hearing for years that the [NATO] doors were supposedly open, but now we know we won’t enter there. That is the truth, and we must acknowledge that,” Zelensky said during a video call with the UK Joint Expeditionary Force, a meeting of the leaders of Nordic and Baltic nations hosted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“I am glad that our people are beginning to understand that and to rely on ourselves and those partners that aid us,” he added.

The Ukrainian leader apparently included the people he was addressing on the list of good friends of Ukraine, despite most of them leading NATO allies. He said the military organization was in no position to offer the security guarantees that his country wants to receive from other nations. But individual states could help Ukraine even with NATO doors closed to it, he suggested, and have been doing so for eight years of what he described as a Ukrainian war against Russia.

Zelensky shamed NATO for not imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine due to concerns that this would escalate the hostilities into a full-blown world war. The refusal to impose it is shared by all members of the organization, with US, its de facto leader, reiterating it on many occasions over the past weeks.

The Ukrainian leader claimed NATO member states “hypnotized themselves” with the fear of a global conflict that would have the potential of ending human civilization. He didn’t hide bitterness over the fact that allies refused to protect Ukraine the way they are bound to defend each other in case of a military attack.

Ukraine made NATO membership a key goal of its foreign policy after the 2014 armed coup in Kiev put an anti-Russian government into power. The aspiration was made part of its national constitution in 2019.

Russia launched a military offensive in Ukraine in late February. President Vladimir Putin stated that NATO’s creeping expansion into Ukraine without its formal accession was a major factor in his decision to order the incursion. Kiev blasted the attack as “unprovoked.”

Western nations mostly agreed but refused to fight for Ukraine militarily. Instead, they ramped up weapons supplies to Kiev and imposed harsh economic sanctions against Russia, expecting them to inflict enough damage to stop the military offensive.

NATO ‘never looked weaker’

NATO ‘never looked weaker’ – Zelensky
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky. © Pavlo Gonchar / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned NATO on Tuesday, furthering his criticism of the alliance in the wake of Russia’s assault, claiming the US-led military bloc is not committed to the Article 5 collective defense clause.

Speaking in a video address, the Ukrainian leader claimed that the mutual defense article has never looked “as weak as it is today.” He argued that NATO would likely fail to protect its own members if one came under assault from an adversary, such as Russia.

NATO has refused to send troops directly to defend Ukraine, as it is not part of the military alliance, and warned that its involvement would lead to direct confrontation with Russia. Zelensky suggested, however, that the bloc would respond “in the same way” if Russia attacked a member state.

Leaders from NATO countries have repeatedly rejected any suggestion that they are not committed to the Article 5 clause that guarantees the mutual defense between member states. Speaking in Lithuania last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken described America’s commitment to Article 5 as “sacrosanct.”

The latest criticism from Zelensky came as the Ukrainian leader seemingly conceded that his country will never join NATO, stating that his citizens have “realized” they won’t be permitted to be part of the alliance.

“For years we’ve heard the opposite, open doors, however, it is not,” Zelensky said in his speech, apparently accepting one of the demands made by Russia prior to the military assault on Ukraine. “Our people understand this, and we are beginning to count on our own strength,” the Ukrainian leader added.

Credit | RT

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