Ukraine has applied for “accelerated” NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) membership. In a video made public, Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday also ruled out talks with President Vladimir Putin, striking back at Moscow after it said it had annexed four Ukrainian regions. The war seems to be advancing.
It looks like the war is being driven to all new levels now.
Zelensky signed the NATO application papers in a video that was clearly intended as a forceful rebuttal or at the very least, a message, to the Kremlin after Putin held a ceremony in Moscow to proclaim the four partially occupied regions as annexed Russian land.
“We are taking our decisive step by signing Ukraine’s application for accelerated accession to NATO,” Zelensky said in the video on the Telegram app.
The video showed Zelensky in combat fatigues announcing the membership bid and signing a document flanked by his prime minister and the speaker of parliament, according to a report by Reuters.
Ukraine joining NATO has been a redline for Russia before the “invasion.” Russia sent its armed forces into Ukraine in February, and Moscow was demanding legally binding guarantees that Ukraine would never be admitted to the U.S.-led transatlantic defense alliance. By applying for fast-track membership of NATO, Zelensky appears intent on pushing Putin across that red line.
Meanwhile, NATO says war escalation is coming solely from Russia, and blames Moscow for annexing the four regions of Ukraine. NATO says Putin is provoking “the most serious escalation” of the war in Ukraine since it began but said he would not succeed in deterring the alliance from supporting Kyiv.
“We have the combination of the mobilization in Russia, combined with the reckless, dangerous nuclear rhetoric, and then today’s illegal annexation, or attempt to annex parts of Ukraine,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.
According to Business Insider, a nuclear expert, Hans Kristensen, said he’s “extraordinarily concerned” Putin could use nukes in Ukraine. Hans Kristensen the director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists who have been monitoring Russia’s nuclear rhetoric. In an interview, he spoke to Insider about signs the US and others are looking for that might point to Putin pulling the trigger on a battlefield nuke — and why his latest speech is cause for alarm.