Tuesday, May 18

Ukraine Pressures NATO For Membership As Russia Amasses Troops On Border | Ukraine


Ukraine’s president has called on NATO and key member states to accelerate his country’s membership in the Western military alliance in response to the increasing concentration of Russian forces on his country’s borders.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy spoke with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday, urging Ukraine to move towards future membership to stop the protracted conflict in the eastern Donbas region.

A statement issued by the Ukrainian presidency after the call said that “the most urgent issue” in relation to NATO was “the possibility of obtaining the action plan for accession to NATO”, seen as a path to future accession. .

The Ukrainian president has been involved in a frenzied round of diplomatic activity in recent days, as Russia has markedly increased the number of troops deployed in northern and eastern Ukraine and in occupied Crimea.

Russia’s purpose in military readiness is unclear, but many Western analysts are concerned about the scale of the stance at a time of mounting tensions between Moscow and Washington, after Joe Biden told reporters that he thought his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin was “a murderer”.

Zelenskiy made similar requests for a path to NATO membership in calls with Boris Johnson, the prime minister of the United Kingdom, on Monday and again on Tuesday with Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada. Following the call with the UK, Ukraine asked the country, together with its allies, to “strengthen its presence” in the region.

“NATO is the only way to end the war in Donbas. MAP of Ukraine [membership action plan] it will be a real signal for Russia, ”Zelenskiy told Stoltenberg, according to Kyiv’s reading of their conversation.

Stoltenberg tweeted that he had spoken with the Ukrainian leader “to express serious concern about Russia’s military activities in and around Ukraine” and said the alliance “strongly supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

NATO sources said the alliance members discussed the Russian build-up last Thursday and continued to monitor the situation closely. But officials also said Ukraine would have to “focus on internal reforms” and “develop its defense capabilities in line with NATO standards” to be considered a member.

Russia has not denied the troop movements, but insisted it was “not threatening anyone.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday that Ukraine’s membership in NATO would do nothing to resolve the conflict.

“We highly doubt that this will help Ukraine solve its internal problem,” Peskov said. “From our point of view, it will only make the situation worse.

“If you ask the opinion of several million people who live in the self-proclaimed republics [in the east of the country] you will see that for them membership of NATO is deeply unacceptable, “he said.

There have been new clashes in eastern Ukraine, in a simmering conflict dating back to 2014. Kiev said two soldiers were killed on Monday and Tuesday on the front lines, fighting separatists believed to have Russian backing. something that Moscow denies.

Dr. Nigel Gould-Davies, senior analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said: “We see more and more commentators and analysts saying that this is more serious than just a show of strength. I don’t think we can rule anything out at this point. “


www.theguardian.com

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