President Volodymyr Zelenskyy released a statement that he is no longer pressing for NATO membership for Ukraine, a delicate issue that was one of Russia’s stated reasons for invading its pro-Western neighbour.
In another apparent nod aimed at placating Moscow, Zelenskyy said he is open to “compromise” on the status of two breakaway pro-Russian territories that President Vladimir Putin recognized as independent just before unleashing the invasion on February 24.
Meanwhile, Zelenskyy said in an interview, “I have cooled down regarding this question regarding this question a long time ago after we understood that, NATO is not prepared to accept Ukraine.”
The president said, “The alliance is afraid of controversial things, and confrontation with Russia.”
Referring to NATO membership, Zelenskyy said via an interpreter that he does not want to be president of a “nation which is begging something on its knees.”
The alliance has grown further & further east to take in former Soviet bloc nations, infuriating the Kremlin in more recent years. Russia sees NATO gain as a danger, as it does the military posture of these new Western allies on its doorstep.
Shortly before he shocked the whole world by calling a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Putin recognized as independent two separatist pro-Russian “republics” in the eastern region of Ukraine, ‘Donetsk and Lugansk’, that have been at war with Kyiv since 2014. Putin now wants Ukraine, too, to recognize them as sovereign and independent.
Meanwhile, Zelenskyy said, “No one has recognized these two regions but Russia, these pseudo republics. But we can discuss & look for the way to compromise on how these territories will live on.”
Zelenskyy added, “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.”