Ukraine applies for fast-track NATO membership

In his speech, Zelensky said that Ukraine is ready for peace talks with Russia but with a different Russian president.

 UKRAINE’S PRESIDENT Volodymyr Zelensky walks with soldiers in the town of Izium last week after it was liberated by Ukrainie’s armed forces. (photo credit: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service)
UKRAINE’S PRESIDENT Volodymyr Zelensky walks with soldiers in the town of Izium last week after it was liberated by Ukrainie’s armed forces.
(photo credit: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine has applied for NATO membership in a video address on Friday.

The country, according to him, can count on fast-track accession to NATO. 

"De facto, we have already become a NATO ally. We trust each other, we help each other, and we protect each other. This is the Alliance," Zelensky said.

"Today, Ukraine submits an application to make this de jure. (Our application) would be a formal solidifying of the real state of things we've already achieved."

"Today, Ukraine submits an application to make this de jure. (Our application) would be a formal solidifying of the real state of things we've already achieved."

Volodymyr Zelensky

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he would hold a briefing on Friday at 7 PM.

In his speech, Zelensky said that Ukraine is ready for peace talks with Russia but with a different Russian president.

"It was our state that repeatedly offered Russia to agree on coexistence on equal, honest, dignified, and fair terms. It is obvious that this is impossible with this Russian president. He does not know what dignity and honesty are. Therefore, we are ready for a dialogue with Russia, but with another president of Russia," Zelensky added.

Putin's annexation of Ukrainian territory 

Zelensky's video address follows the televised address and ceremony where Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed annexation of four Ukrainian regions that Russia partly occupied.

During the speech, Putin referred to the "tragic fall" of the USSR, claiming that residents of the eastern Ukrainian provinces were "taken from their native motherland as the USSR was torn apart," and that this annexation will return a thousand-year bond.

Putin concluded by saying that Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia will now "return to their rightful place as part of the motherland."

A signing ceremony was held shortly afterward, officially solidifying Russia's declaration of annexing the regions.