As he left for Vilnius, Lithuania to attend a two-day gathering of the 31-member military alliance, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday said not setting a clear timeframe for his country’s NATO membership would be “absurd.”
“We value our allies. We value our shared security. And we always appreciate an open conversation. Ukraine will be represented in Vilnius at the NATO summit. Because this is respect. But Ukraine also deserves respect,” he wrote on Telegram.
Zelenskyy said he learned that “wording” of a draft statement was being discussed without Kyiv on the table.
“It is unprecedented and absurd – when there is no time frame for both the invitation (!) and Ukraine’s membership; and when instead some strange wording is added about “conditions” even for inviting Ukraine,” he said.
According to him, it looks like “there is no readiness either to invite Ukraine to NATO or to make it a member of the alliance.”
Zelenskyy stressed that uncertainty means “weakness,” and that he plans “to openly discuss this at the summit.”
Kyiv is pushing to be swiftly allowed into the Western military alliance, but leaders are said to be reluctant for its immediate entry during its war with Russia.
Earlier, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said the leaders are expected to reaffirm that Ukraine will become a future alliance member.
The 31 leaders of the military alliance are meeting to discuss the Ukraine war, Sweden’s NATO membership, and steps to strengthen the group’s defense and deterrence, among other issues.