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Ukraine applies for NATO membership, rules out Putin talks

President Volodymyr Zeleskiy made a surprise offer for NATO membership on Friday (30 September). He ruled out talks with President Vladimir Putin. This was after Moscow claimed it had annexed four Ukrainian provinces.

In an online video Zelenskiy signed NATO application papers clearly in a forceful rebuttal against the Kremlin. This was evidently after Putin held an ceremony to declare the four regions that were partially occupied as annexed Russian territory.

Zelenskiy stated in the Telegram video: “We are taking our decisive steps by signing Ukraine’s application for NATO accelerated accession.”

Zelenskiy, dressed in combat fatigues, announced his membership bid and signed a document. He was flanked by the prime minister and speaker of parliament.

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This announcement was likely to touch a nerve with Moscow, which casts NATO at home as an antagonistic military alliance intent on encroaching upon Moscow’s sphere.

Before Russia sent its armed force into Ukraine in February 2018, Moscow demanded legally binding guarantees that Ukraine would not be admitted to the U.S.-led Transatlantic Defence Alliance.

The West and Kyiv both claim that Moscow used this pretext to launch a preplanned military campaign against Ukraine. Zelenskiy applied for NATO membership fast track, presumably to show that Putin is not achieving his main war goal – stopping Ukraine from joining NATO.

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NO TALKING WITH PUTIN

Zelenskiy, in his video speech, accused Russia of rewriting the history and redrawing border lines “using murder, Blackmail, mistreatment, and lies”, something that he claimed Kyiv would not permit.

However, he stated that Kyiv was committed to co-existence with Russia under “equal, honest, dignified, and fair conditions”.

“Clearly, that is impossible with the Russian president. He doesn’t know what honesty and dignity are. We are therefore ready to have a dialogue with Russia but with another Russian president,” Zelenskiy stated.

Zelenskiy stated that Ukraine is still waiting for consensus from NATO member countries, but could be protected by draft security guarantees offered by Kyiv, also known as the Kyiv Safety Compact. Moscow rejected it as an idea.

He said: “We are aware that this requires consensus from all alliance members…” and therefore, while it is happening, we propose to realize our proposals regarding security guarantee for Ukraine and all Europe according the Kyiv Security Compact.”

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