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Ukrainian President Says Kiev is Ready to Join NATO, But US Remains Vague

© Sputnik / Mikhail Markiv / Go to the photo bankUkrainian President Petro Poroshenko visits Hetman Petro Sagaidachny Ukrainian Army Academy
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko visits Hetman Petro Sagaidachny Ukrainian Army Academy - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.09.2021
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The country adopted the course on joining the western military alliance in 2016. However, former NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen suggested in the past that Ukraine had a long way to go before it could be accepted into the alliance. Russia, in turn, repeatedly objected to NATO setting up new military bases close to its borders.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that the US has still not made its position on when Kiev might join NATO clear. At the same time, Zelensky insisted that Kiev still can "rely on" Washington.
Responding to a question during a "YES Brainstorming" event, the president lamented the failure by western countries to invite Ukraine into the alliance, alleging that it "makes Russia stronger". He also claimed that Kiev is actually ready to join NATO and suggested that alliance members themselves should be interested in this.

"My position is very simple: we are ready for NATO by the level of our army, our specialists. The reforms that we are carrying out […] We say that it seems to us that NATO needs us, it seems to us that without Ukraine the EU will be not strong".

This handout photograph taken and released by The Ukrainian Presidential Press Service on April 20, 2021, shows Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaking during his late evening address in Kiev.  - Sputnik International
Volodymyr Zelensky
Ukrainian President
Zelensky further alleged that a fully fledged military conflict between Ukraine and Russia cannot be ruled out at the moment. He added that such a development would be "the biggest mistake" for Russia.
"I think there can be [war]. This is the worst thing that there can be, but unfortunately there is such a possibility".
This handout photograph taken and released by The Ukrainian Presidential Press Service on April 20, 2021, shows Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaking during his late evening address in Kiev.  - Sputnik International
Volodymyr Zelensky
Ukrainian President
Relations between Ukraine and Russia have been on a downward spiral ever since opposition forces overthrew the legitimate government in Kiev with help from the western countries in 2014. The same year, the coup government in Ukraine abolished a provision in the country's law that prevented Kiev from joining military alliances. The new Ukrainian parliament also adopted a law in 2016 forcing the government to seek the country's accession to NATO. The same plan was cemented into the Ukrainian constitution in 2019.
FILE PHOTO: Banners displaying the NATO logo are placed at the entrance of new NATO headquarters during the move to the new building, in Brussels, Belgium April 19, 2018.  REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.06.2021
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Zelenskyy Demands 'Yes' or 'No' From Biden, Western States on Ukraine's Accession to NATO
Although Kiev received the status of a NATO partner, there have been no announcements about inviting the state into the alliance. Its former chief, Anders Fogh Rasmussen alleged in the past that it will take Ukraine a long time to become ready to join NATO, but refused to give any estimates. Russia strongly opposes Kiev's plans, having objected to any NATO eastward expansion over the past three decades. Moscow strongly condemns any plans for setting up new NATO military bases near its borders.
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