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Ukrainian President says NATO membership issue should be resolved immediately

Kyiv: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is certain that his country will become a NATO member eventually, but this issue needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

“I think that in general, very wrong things are happening. Because while I personally believe that Ukraine will eventually join NATO, I have to point out that many Ukrainians increasingly don’t believe this as strongly as they used to. I consider this to be a big problem,” Zelenskyy said in an interview with Axios.

Ukraine needs help in becoming an independent actor, instead of counting only on its partners, the president said.

“I think that if we are welcome in NATO, if they really want to see us as a member, then it’s no use looking into the binoculars, into some distant future and discussing this future. The issue should be resolved immediately,” Zelenskyy said.

He added that he has met with US Senators and with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, discussing a possible increase in US military assistance to Ukraine (which is currently on hold, according to Axios).

“It [meeting] was about security, it was about enhancing security in the Black and the Azov seas, along the shoreline, for our position is rather weak there,” Zelenskyy said, stressing that Ukraine needs US military assistance “for defense purposes only.”

In December 2014, Ukraine abandoned its non-aligned status. In June 2016, additional amendments were passed that defined NATO membership as the country’s foreign policy goal. In February 2019, the Ukrainian parliament passed amendments to enshrine the country’s EU and NATO aspirations in the constitution. Currently, NATO recognizes Ukraine as an Enhanced Opportunities Partner.

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