'NATO Should Openly Say It's Afraid of Russia': Ukrainian Prez Zelenskyy

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that NATO should announce now whether it will accept Ukraine as a member.

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'NATO Should Openly Say It's Afraid of Russia': Ukrainian Prez Zelenskyy

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday, 21 March, said that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) should announce whether it will assimilate war-torn Ukraine as a member or if it was afraid of Russia.

"NATO should either say now that they are accepting us, or openly say they are not accepting us because they are afraid of Russia – which is true," Zelenskyy said in an interview to Suspilne, a Ukrainian public broadcaster.

Zelenskyy added that Ukraine would then seek security guarantees from some NATO nations that are ready to provide them without a membership.

"That's where the compromise exists. That's where the end of the war is," he was quoted as saying in the interview by The Kyiv Independent.


President Zelenskyy had, earlier in March, said that he was no longer interested in making Ukraine a member of NATO.

"The alliance is afraid of controversial things, and confrontation with Russia," he had said in an interview with ABC News, adding that he did not want to be the president of a country which is "begging something on its knees."

Zelenskyy further said in the interview with Suspilne on Monday that Ukraine "can't accept an ultimatum from Russia," adding:

"Let's say they demand to get Kharkiv, or Mariupol, or Kyiv. People in these cities won't let them do it. The only way they can seize the cities is to kill everyone, and take the empty city."

He called for direct talks "in any format" with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, and reiterated that talks between the two were key in paving way to the war's end.

(With inputs from Suspilne and The Kyiv Independent)

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