Ukraine applying for NATO membership in wake of Russian annexation

Click to play video: 'Russia-Ukraine conflict: Fear of nuclear weapons rise as Zelenskyy pushes to fast-track NATO membership application'
Russia-Ukraine conflict: Fear of nuclear weapons rise as Zelenskyy pushes to fast-track NATO membership application
WATCH: As Redmond Shannon reports, these events mark further escalation in the conflict – Sep 30, 2022

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Friday Ukraine was formally applying for fast-track membership of the NATO military alliance and that Kyiv was ready for talks with Moscow, but not with President Vladimir Putin.

The Ukrainian leader made his comments in a video which appeared intended as a forceful rebuttal to the Kremlin after Putin held a ceremony in Moscow to proclaim four partially occupied Ukrainian regions as annexed Russian land.

Read more: Canada slaps new sanctions on Russia after Putin annexes Ukrainian regions

“We are taking our decisive step by signing Ukraine’s application for accelerated accession to NATO,” Zelenskiy said in a video on Telegram.

The video showed Zelenskiy announcing the membership bid and then signing a document flanked by his prime minister and the speaker of parliament.

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In this photo released by Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy leads a meeting of the National Security and Defence Council in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Sept. 30. Ukraine’s president says his country is submitting an “accelerated” application to join the NATO military alliance. Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP

The announcement was likely to touch a nerve in Moscow which casts the NATO bloc at home as a hostile military alliance bent on encroaching in Moscow sphere of influence and destroying it.

In his video speech, Zelenskiy accused Russia of brazenly rewriting history and redrawing borders “using murder, blackmail, mistreatment and lies,” something he said Kyiv would not allow.

He said however that Kyiv remained committed to the idea of co-existence with Russia “on equal, honest, dignified and fair conditions”.

“Clearly, with this Russian president it is impossible. He does not know what dignity and honesty are. Therefore, we are ready for a dialogue with Russia, but with another president of Russia,” Zelenskiy said.

At a news conference in Washington, D.C. Friday, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly reiterated Canada’s support for Ukraine.

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“We believe that Ukraine should be part of NATO. It’s been our position for now more than a decade, and we believe in the open door policy,” she said.

(Reporting by Max Hunder; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Timothy Heritage)

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