WASHINGTON – President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that he will no longer push for Ukraine’s membership to NATO, a delicate issue that was one of Russia’s claimed motives for invading its pro-Western neighbor.
In another apparent attempt to appease Moscow, Zelenskyy stated that he is willing to “compromise” on the status of two pro-Russian breakaway territories that President Vladimir Putin recognized as autonomous immediately before launching the invasion on February 24.
“I cooled off on this subject a long time ago after we realized that… NATO is not prepared to embrace Ukraine,” Zelenskyy said in an interview broadcast Monday night on ABC News.
“The alliance is terrified of contentious issues and conflict with Russia,” the president remarked.
Concerning NATO membership, Zelenskyy told an interpreter that he did not want to be president of a “nation that is asking anything on its knees.”
Russia has stated that it does not want Ukraine to join NATO, the transatlantic alliance formed at the start of the Cold War to safeguard Europe from the Soviet Union.
In recent years, the alliance has expanded eastward to include former Soviet bloc countries, irritating the Kremlin.
Russia views NATO enlargement, as well as the military posture of these new Western partners on its doorstep, as a danger.
Putin recognized as autonomous two separatist pro-Russian “republics” in eastern Ukraine – Donetsk and Luhansk – that have been at war with Kyiv since 2014.
Putin now wants Ukraine to recognize their sovereignty and independence as well.
When asked about the Russian demand, Zelenskyy replied he was ready to discussion.
“I’m referring to security guarantees,” he explained.
Source: ABC News