Ukraine’s President says his country is submitting an “accelerated” application to join the NATO military alliance.
The comment on Friday by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy came just after Russia said it would annex four region of Ukraine it seized amid its war and held gunpoint referendums viewed as illegitimate by the international community.
Mr. Zelenskyy said: “We are taking our decisive step by signing Ukraine’s application for accelerated accession to NATO.”
It wasn’t immediately clear what an “accelerated” application would mean, as ascension to NATO requires the unanimous support of the alliance’s members.
“De facto, we have already proven compatibility with alliance standards. They are real for Ukraine -- real on the battlefield and in all aspects of our interaction,” Zelenskyy said. “We trust each other, we help each other, and we protect each other. This is the alliance.”
During Russia's seven-month war in the neighboring country, Ukraine has shifted off Soviet-era weapon systems and using NATO-standard ordinance and weapons, though thet process is still ongoing.