Zelensky: NATO should make "a clear invitation" to Ukraine

2023-06-01 18:07:19, Kosova & Bota CNA

Zelensky: NATO should make "a clear invitation" to Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday that his country needs NATO to extend a "clear invitation" to membership at the alliance's high-level meeting in Vilnius. President Zelensky has repeatedly called for his country's membership in the military alliance to be accelerated, but although he has expressed support for such a move, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the issue is not on the agenda while the war continues.

President Zelensky said at the high-level meeting of the European Political Community in Moldova that any European country that borders Russia and does not want Russia to break it up, "must be a full member of the EU and NATO -s".

In Oslo, where a meeting of NATO foreign ministers is being held, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expressed support for Ukraine's membership.

"All allies agree that Ukraine will become a member of the alliance and that it is up to NATO allies and Ukraine to decide when Ukraine will become a member. It is not up to Moscow to veto NATO expansion," he said.

But Mr. Stoltenberg has said that Ukraine's membership in NATO "is not on the agenda" while the war continues.

He said on Thursday that "the most urgent and important issue now is for Ukraine to win as a sovereign and independent country".

Asked about attacks on Russian territory attributed to Ukraine, Mr. Stoltenberg said that Ukraine was attacked by Russia and has the right to defend itself.

He said that Russian President Vladimir Putin can stop the war at any time and that those responsible for war crimes in Ukraine must be held accountable.

The Oslo meeting comes ahead of next month's NATO leaders' meeting in Lithuania, which President Zelensky referred to.

Mr. Stoltenberg said he expects that at the meeting, the allies will agree on a long-term commitment to support Ukraine.

He said that Ukraine must have the skills and strength to defend itself and deter any aggression from Russia.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken praised in Oslo what he called NATO's "remarkable unity" in response to Russia.

"It was one of the main reasons for Ukraine's success in repelling Russian aggression. We have said since day one what we would do to support Ukraine, to put pressure on Russia and to strengthen our Alliance. We have done what we promised and we will continue to do so," he said.

Mr Stoltenberg had said he hoped NATO allies would approve Sweden's request to join the alliance before the July meeting.

But so far Hungary and Turkey have not given their approval. The head of NATO said on Thursday that he will go to Ankara soon to continue the discussion on this issue with the country's leaders./ VOA

Lajmet e fundit nga