| 18 April 2024, Thursday |

Zelenskyy demands NATO summit confirm Ukraine as de facto member: We will be in NATO

On Monday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that the majority of NATO members expressed support for Ukraine and urged the Vilnius summit to acknowledge Ukraine as a de facto member of the military alliance.
“Even if different positions are voiced, it is still clear that Ukraine deserves to be in the Alliance. Not now – there is a war, but we need a clear signal. And we need this signal right now,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly address, stressing: “The majority of the Alliance clearly stands [with] us.”
He said: “When we applied to join NATO, we were frank: Ukraine is de facto already in the Alliance. Our weapons are the weapons of the Alliance. Our values are what the Alliance believes in. Our defense is the very element of the formula of Europe that makes it united, free and peaceful.”
“Vilnius [summit] must confirm all this.”
He added: “We are still working on the wording, that is, on the specific words of such confirmation, but we already understand the fact that Ukraine will be in the Alliance, and we are working to make the algorithm for gaining membership as clear and fast as possible.”

Zelenskyy stated that talks for air defense and weapons for the frontline will be held in Vilnius. “I am sure that there may be good weaponry-related news for our warriors from Vilnius,” he said.

Zelenskyy is anticipated to participate in the Vilnius summit held on Tuesday and Wednesday, where he will advocate for Ukraine’s inclusion in NATO once the war initiated by Russia’s invasion concludes. Several NATO members in Eastern Europe have expressed strong support for Ukraine’s position, asserting that incorporating Kyiv into the alliance’s collective security framework is the most effective strategy to deter Russia from launching another war.

However, some countries like the US and Germany have exercised caution, concerned that any action taken may lead NATO into a direct conflict with Russia, potentially igniting a global war.

At the summit, NATO is projected to offer Ukraine a comprehensive support package, encompassing an enhanced cooperative body known as the NATO-Ukraine Council, as well as non-lethal military assistance to aid Kyiv’s armed forces in reforms and attaining NATO standards.

Nonetheless, Zelenskyy has emphasized that Ukraine seeks more concrete assurances regarding membership, surpassing the vague promise made in Bucharest in 2008 that Ukraine would eventually become a member of the alliance.

  • DW