Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky, expressed his hope on Sunday to achieve the “best possible outcome” of the upcoming NATO summit.in which he awaits a sign that his country will one day be able to join the alliance.
After meeting with his Polish colleague Andrzej Duda, Zelenski indicated that both had agreed to “work together to obtain the best possible result for Ukraine” at the next NATO summit, which will take place on July 11 and 12 in Vilnius (Lithuania).
“Together we are stronger,” Duda said on social media during a visit to the western Ukrainian city of Lutsk with Zelensky.
Poland is one of Ukraine’s main supporters in NATO, the military alliance Kiev wants to join.
Zelensky made it clear that he does not expect Ukraine to join NATO before the end of the war with Russia, but hopes the summit will provide a “clear signal” of the intention to bring Kiev into the alliance.
In this regard, US President Joe Biden declared in London, where he arrived on Sunday on his way to the summit, that he hopes the alliance “charts a rational path for Ukraine to qualify for NATO membership.”
Biden told CNN that “I don’t think we have unanimity in NATO on whether or not to bring Ukraine in (…) in the middle of a war.” “We would be at war with Russia if that were the case,” Biden added.
Zelensky returned from Turkey on Saturday after a brief tour of Eastern Europe to rally support ahead of the military alliance summit.
The Ukrainian president applauded the “courage” of his people in a video released on Saturday, 500 days after the start of the war.
His statement was recorded on the Island of Snakes, in the Black Sea, a territory that symbolizes resistance against Moscow.
The president was accompanied by senior commanders of the Azov regiment, who were to remain in Turkey until the end of the conflict in application of a diplomatic agreement between Moscow and kyiv.
The Kremlin lashed out at his repatriation, a “direct violation” of the pact, according to the spokesman for the Russian presidency, Dmitri Peskov.
The regiment’s fighters are celebrated as heroes in Ukraine for their resistance at the Azovstal steelworks during the siege of the city of Mariupol (south) and reviled in Russia for its links with Ukrainian ultranationalism.
One of the combatants of that battalion, Denys Prokopenko, quoted by the Interfax-Ukraine news agency, declared that he was going to return to the front.
Peskov linked the return of the regiment members to the “failure of the Ukrainian counteroffensive” launched in June, but also to Ankara’s desire to show its “solidarity” ahead of the upcoming NATO summit.
Biden also hopes that Turkey will drop its objection to Sweden’s NATO membership.
In a telephone conversation on Sunday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Biden “conveyed his desire to welcome Sweden into NATO as soon as possible,” the White House said.
Erdogan’s office reported that the president will hold a bilateral with Biden during the Vilnius summit.
Although he did not obtain an expedited process to join NATO, Ukraine did obtain a promise of cluster bombs from the United Statesa highly controversial weapon that, according to Zelenski, is an “indispensable aid program.”
Biden admitted that it was a “very difficult decision” but that it was “the right thing to do.”
With information from AFP
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