On Tuesday, President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged that Ukraine’s bid for NATO membership is unrealizable. The Ukrainian President said that Kiev will seek protection from individual member states.
“We’ve been hearing for years that the [NATO] doors were supposedly open, but now we know we won’t enter there. That is the truth, and we must acknowledge that,” Zelensky said during a video call with the UK Joint Expeditionary Force, a meeting of the leaders of Nordic and Baltic nations hosted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“I am glad that our people are beginning to understand that and to rely on ourselves and those partners that aid us,” he added.
Ukraine made NATO membership a key goal of its foreign policy after the 2014 armed coup in Kiev put an anti-Russian government into power. The aspiration was made part of its national constitution in 2019.
In February 2019, the then Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a constitutional amendment committing the the country to becoming a member of NATO and the European Union.
Addressing parliament on February 19, Poroshenko said he saw securing Ukraine’s membership in NATO and the EU as his “strategic mission.”
Then European Council President Donald Tusk attended the signing of the constitutional amendment in the parliament building.
Russia had launched a military offensive in Ukraine in late February. President Vladimir Putin stated that NATO’s creeping expansion into Ukraine without its formal accession was a major factor in his decision to order the incursion.
Speaking on the 19th day of the Russia-Ukraine war, President Zelensky said that NATO allies don’t want to see Ukraine among their ranks and Kiev realizes that. He said the military organization was in no position to offer the security guarantees that his country wants to receive from other nations.
Zelensky shamed NATO for not imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine due to concerns that this would escalate the hostilities into a full-blown world war. The refusal to impose it is shared by all members of the organization, with US, its de facto leader, reiterating it on many occasions over the past weeks.
While NATO nations and their allies has refused to fight for Ukraine militarily, they have ramped up weapons supplies to Kiev and imposed harsh economic sanctions against Russia.
Nnamdi Maduakor is a Writer, Investor and Entrepreneur