Zelensky lays out Ukraine’s ambition for NATO membership as a security guarantee

18 February 2022, 04:20 PM

NATO membership would ensure Ukraine’s security, and any decision on Ukraine’s path to NATO should be made by Ukrainians themselves, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a comment to German newspaper BILD on Feb. 17.

Ukraine’s non-accession to the alliance has been one of the “security guarantees” Moscow has demanded of NATO and the United States, and Moscow has said that its guarantees are a “package deal” whose rejection will result in actions of a “military-technical” nature.

NATO itself has rejected this demand, with alliance officials reiterating that they do not plan any compromises on the alliance’s “open door” policy.

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Zelensky, speaking to BILD, said he believes that holding a referendum on Ukraine's accession to NATO would not make any sense at this stage, as Ukraine has only received an invitation to start on the path to NATO membership, but without any concrete dates.

Recent polling has shown support for NATO membership among Ukrainians has grown in recent years – from around 30% in 2013 to over 60% now, according to social research agency Rating Group.

“The path to NATO and the EU is rather long,” Zelensky said. “Ukraine needs some security guarantees as it proceeds down this path. NATO would ensure our security, this is where we want to be. This guarantee means that we will not lose our independence.”

On Feb. 17, Zelensky said that Russia was not the only country preventing Ukraine from joining the Alliance.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, speaking at a press conference in Kyiv on Feb, 14, noted that there are currently “no plans” to admit Ukraine to NATO.

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