Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Friday that Kyiv had “accelerated” its application to join the NATO military alliance as Russia annexed four Ukrainian regions.
It was not immediately clear how Kyiv has pushed through its request, but Zelenskyy, who has vowed to continue fighting Russia despite its illegal annexation, said Ukraine has already proven to be a “compatible” partner with NATO.
“De facto, we have already tested compatibility with the alliance standards. They are real for Ukraine, real on the battlefield and in all aspects of our interaction,” he said. “We trust each other, help each other and protect each other. This is the alliance.”
RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN ANNOUNCES ANNEXATION OF 4 UKRAINIAN TERRITORIES AFTER ‘FAKE’ REFERENDUMS
Zelenskyy’s comments followed a speech and signing ceremony led by Russian President Vladimir Putin in which he stated that Moscow had received overwhelming support for his illegal seizure.
Putin laid claim to the Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions in a hostile speech that threatened to use “all available means” to protect the territory and the Russian citizens “forever” who now reside there.
Please check back on this developing story.
Associated Press contributed to this report.