- BBC News World
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Friday that his country is formally applying to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), using an accelerated accession mechanism.
The request was made on the same day that Vladimir Putin’s government announced the annexation to the Russian Federation of four regions of Ukraine that Russian troops have conquered since the start of the war 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 its path to NATO membership through compatibility with the standards of the Atlantic Alliance showed.
“Is real [los estándares] for Ukraine, really on the battlefield and in all aspects of our interaction. We trust each other, we protect each other. It is an alliance, de facto. Today, Ukraine is applying to do just that de jure“, he pointed.
The Ukrainian president also warned Moscow that “he is going to liberate all the territories of Ukraine.”
“We are confident, although it will not be easy, that we will achieve this. 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 is.
The Accelerated Accession Mechanism is a procedure that allows a country to join NATO without first having a Membership Action Plan (MAP), which is a program by which that organization provides individual support and advice to each country to help them lead in the process of adapting to the alliance’s standards.
Although this is the regular procedure for admission, Zelensky recently noticed it Finland and Sweden used an accelerated entry mechanism and that it was only fair that Ukraine could do the same.
Finland and Sweden succeeded in joining NATO just a few months after both countries, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, made the decision to apply to join the alliance.
From resignation to petition
Although NATO membership has been an aspiration of Ukraine for several years and has been written into the country’s constitution since 2019, Putin has fiercely 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.
Later, many analysts saw that question as one of several pretexts Russia used to invade Ukraine.
After the start of this armed aggression ordered by Putin, Zelensky seemed to have given up on the possibility of joining NATO and noted that his country had to accept that they might never be able to join that alliance.
At the time, some analysts believed it was a calming gesture to open the door to a possible peace deal with Moscow.
However, Russia’s decision on Friday to annex Ukrainian territory its troops captured in the Donetsk, Lugansk, Jershon and Zaporiyiya regions – after holding referendums deemed fraudulent by the international community – appears to have pushed Zelensky from his position.
“Must belong to NATO”
On the other hand, spokesmen for the US and Canadian governments, both NATO members, said they agreed with Ukraine’s entry into the organization.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, although he avoided answering questions about whether his country would support the accelerated entry of Ukraine, did not rule out possible entry into the alliance.
“I repeat that the doors of NATO are still open to Ukraine. There is a known process for countries that want to join NATO,” the head of US diplomacy said during a press conference on Friday.
Blinken explained that the accelerated accession processes, as happened recently with Sweden and Finland, happened because both countries had been NATO partners for several years.
“I think this is what explains the speed of entry for Sweden and Finland,” the foreign minister said.
However, Canadian Foreign Minister Mélany Joly said that “Ukraine should be part of NATO.”
“This has been our position for more than a decade and we firmly believe in the open door doctrine,” the Canadian minister said.
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