President Zelenskiy Makes Case for Membership of NATO Military Alliance at EU Summit

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President Volodymyr Zelenskiy pressed his case for Ukraine to be part of the NATO military alliance as he joined European leaders on Thursday in Moldova. At a separate meeting of NATO ministers in Oslo, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Russia could not veto Ukraine's membership, though Germany said it would not be possible while Ukraine was at war.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy pressed his case for Ukraine to be part of the NATO military alliance as he joined European leaders on Thursday in Moldova close to his nation's border ahead of an expected counter-offensive against Russia's invasion.

 

Meeting Moldovan President Maia Sandu, Zelenskiy reiterated calls for Western fighter jets and said his government was preparing a future meeting to discuss Ukrainian peace proposals.

 

The summit of the EU's 27 member states and 20 other European countries at a castle deep in Moldovan wine country was taking place just 20 km (12 miles) from Ukrainian territory and near the Russian-backed breakaway region of Transdniestria.

 

It posed a security and organisational challenge for the country of 2.5 million people which is seeking a path to EU accession while being wary of Russia.

 

"We support Moldova and its people who are integrating into the EU," said Zelenskiy. "You supported our people, our refugees who fled in the first days of the war, and we will never forget it. Our future is in the EU. Ukraine is ready to join NATO."

 

Sandu said she supported Ukraine's peace efforts and also wanted talks for Moldova's EU entry to move as fast as possible.

 

At a separate meeting of NATO ministers in Oslo, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Russia could not veto Ukraine's membership, though Germany said it would not be possible while Ukraine was at war.

 

NATO Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) surveillance aircraft watched the skies over the Moldova summit venue. Missile debris from the war in Ukraine has been found in Moldova several times since Russia invaded 15 months ago.

 

The head of Russia's FSB security service said the West was pushing Moldova to participate in the Ukraine conflict.

 

With Kyiv promising a counter-offensive using recently acquired Western weapons to try to drive out Russian occupiers, much of the summit's focus will be on Ukraine.