Shortly after Vladimir Putin’s speech in the Kremlin, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed his nation and all allies in a speech. Just as Putin signed the documents on the annexation of areas of Ukraine, Zelenskyy also signed a letter at the end of his speech. This is nothing less than Ukraine’s application for accelerated accession to NATO.
President Zelenskyy underlined: “Today, here in Kyiv, in the heart of our country, we are taking a decisive step for the security of the entire community of free nations.” The meeting of the National Security and Defense Council had just ended: “We have made a decision.”
Ukraine fights for the “values of our Euro-Atlantic community”. In Ukraine, “the fate of democracy will be decided in confrontation with tyranny”. For Zelenskyj it is clear: “We are de facto allies. We have already achieved that. In fact, we have already completed our path to NATO. In fact, we have already proven that we are consistent with the Alliance’s standards, that they are real to Ukraine – real on the battlefield and in all aspects of our interaction.”
Now Ukraine is applying for this fact to be formally established “in the context of an accelerated procedure. We know it’s possible. We have seen Finland and Sweden begin joining the Alliance this year without a membership action plan. This is fair. That is also fair for Ukraine.”
Conclusion: “Security is without alternative. But it takes determination to ensure it. By signing Ukraine’s application for accelerated accession to NATO, we are taking a decisive step.”
In addition, Zelenskyy described Ukraine as a “pioneer in negotiation efforts”. Russia has always been offered “to conclude an agreement on coexistence on fair terms.” Only that is not possible with the current Russian President. “He doesn’t know what dignity and honesty are. That is why we are ready for a dialogue with Russia, but with a different Russian President.”
And: “The entire territory of our country will be liberated from this enemy.”
Denis Trubetskoy – a freelance journalist from Crimea who reports for German-language media in Ukraine – says on Twitter: “It is doubtful whether membership will work, but certain security guarantees should certainly be possible.”
One thing is certain: as soon as Ukraine is a member of NATO, in the event of a war against Russia, the alliance event occurs, as stipulated in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. It states: “The parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America will be considered an attack against them all; they agree, therefore, that in the event of such an armed attack, each of them … shall provide assistance”.
In general, however, a prerequisite for joining NATO is that the accession candidate must not be involved in international conflicts and disputes over borders – which does not apply to Ukraine.