President Zelenskyy says Ukraine is no longer pressing for NATO membership

Mar 9, 2022: According to a report by AFP, President Volodymyr Zelensky said he was no longer pushing for Ukraine’s NATO membership, a critical issue that was one of the reasons given by Russia for attacking its pro-Western neighbor.

In another apparent move aimed at persuading Moscow, Zelenskyy said he was ready to “compromise” on the status of the two breakaway pro-Russian territories that President Vladimir Putin had recognized as independent before the February 24 invasion.

“I have cooled down regarding this question a long time ago after we understood that … NATO is not prepared to accept Ukraine,” Zelensky said in an interview aired Monday night on ABC News.

“The alliance is afraid of controversial things, and confrontation with Russia,” the president added.

In reference to NATO membership, Zelenskyy said through an interpreter that he does not want to be president of a “country which is begging something on its knees.”

Russia has said it does not want neighboring Ukraine to join NATO, which was set up at the start of the Cold War to protect Europe from the Soviet Union. In recent years, the coalition has expanded further east to engage the former Soviet bloc and provoke the Kremlin. Russia sees NATO expansion as a threat, as it sees the military position of these new Western allies on its doorstep.

Shortly before shocking the world by ordering an invasion of Ukraine, Putin recognized the two independent pro-Russian separatist “republics” in eastern Ukraine – Donetsk and Luhansk – which have been at war with Kyiv since 2014. Putin now wants Ukraine to recognize them as independent and sovereign.

Speaking to ABC, Zelenskyy said, “I’m talking about security guarantees,” he said, adding that these two republics “have not been recognized by anyone but Russia, these pseudo republics. But we can discuss and find the compromise on how these territories will live on.”

“What is important to me is how the people in those territories are going to live who want to be part of Ukraine, who in Ukraine will say that they want to have them in,” Zelensky said.

“So the question is more difficult than simply acknowledging them,” the president said.

“This is another ultimatum and we are not prepared for ultimatums. What needs to be done is for President Putin to start talking, start the dialogue instead of living in the informational bubble without oxygen.”

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