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Ukraine may never join NATO – Zelensky

Members of the US-led bloc have stated on numerous occasions that it’s still not the right time to accept Kiev

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, originally elected on his campaign’s anti-war pledges and now promising another wave of conscription, has admitted that his country may never join NATO. The statement was made during a meeting with university students in the city of Nikolaev on Wednesday.  

Replying to a question about the future of Ukraine’s national security, Zelensky said he didn’t know whether Ukraine would be able to join the US-led bloc.  

“We don’t know how it will turn out… No one will be able to answer that for sure. Either we will be in NATO, or we won’t be in NATO. We want to, but…” the Ukrainian president responded.  

On Wednesday in Brussels, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirmed that Ukraine can become a member of the bloc, “when allies agree and conditions are met.” He added that “Ukraine is well on the path of NATO, as well as to the European Union, with the accession process, uh, beginning.” 

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Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba (L) and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the NATO-Ukraine Council meeting.
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Ukraine made NATO membership a strategic goal of its foreign policy in 2017. In the autumn of 2022, Kiev gave its formal application to join the military bloc after four of its former regions voted to join Russia via referendums.  

Russia has long viewed NATO’s creeping expansion towards its borders as a major security threat. President Vladimir Putin has on numerous occasions stated that Ukraine joining NATO is absolutely unacceptable to Moscow, and has cited Kiev’s potential accession to the bloc as one of the focal reasons for the current military operation.  

On Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov argued that the US-led military bloc has been aimed at deterring Russia as “a tool of confrontation” since its inception. He added that there are no signs that NATO will change that goal anytime soon, and neither will it stop “sacrificing” Ukrainians in its fight against Russia.

November 30, 2023 at 09:20PM

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