The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky admitted Friday that the inclusion of his country into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which Kiev insistently demands, is impossible before the end of the war with Russia.
Zelensky said in a joint press conference with his Estonian counterpart, Alar Karis, that joining NATO is the best guarantee for Ukraine’s security, but “we understand that we won’t drag any country in NATO into war”.
“Therefore, we understand that we won’t become a member of NATO as long as this war continues, not because we don’t want to, but because it’s impossible,” he added.
This is a rare admission from the Ukrainian president, who has intensified his pressure since the start of the Russian invasion to include his country as soon as possible in the alliance.
On Thursday, Zelensky demanded that his country and Moldova join NATO, saying that doubts about his country’s accession endanger Europe.
NATO, which in principle supports the annexation of this country, remains ambiguous about the timetable, as Kiev’s entry into the alliance may cause an escalation in the conflict because Russia considers such expansion a red line.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed last April the organization’s support for Kiev’s ambitions without addressing the timetable, considering that the priority is to achieve victory in the war.
The issue of Ukraine’s accession will be discussed at the NATO summit in Vilnius next July.