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Ukraine won’t attend NATO summit without ‘signal’ on accession: Zelenskyy

Ukraine won’t attend NATO summit without ‘signal’ on accession: Zelenskyy

by host

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy doubled down on Kyiv’s push to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization ahead of NATO’s next summit in Vilnius this summer.

“If we are not acknowledged and given a signal in Vilnius, I believe there is no point for Ukraine to be at this summit,” the Ukrainian president told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published Saturday.

“We understand that we will not be in NATO or in any powerful security alliance during this war. But tell me, how many [Ukrainian] lives is one sentence at the Vilnius summit worth?” Zelenskyy said, adding he “honestly [did] not know” if he would receive such a signal.

Kyiv has been intensely lobbying NATO member states to get a firm promise that Ukraine would eventually join the defense alliance.

Ukrainian officials have expressed hopes they would receive a concrete political gesture putting them on the membership path at the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, in July.

While French President Emmanuel Macron has called for giving Ukraine a “path towards membership,” U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Kyiv’s “rightful place” was in the alliance but stopped short of supporting an accession roadmap.

NATO’s current focus, Sunak said, was to make sure Ukraine received appropriate military support for a much-anticipated counteroffensive to repel Russia’s full-scale invasion and turn the tide of the war.

In the interview, Zelenskyy said Ukrainian forces were “ready” for the counterattack.

“We strongly believe we will succeed,” the president said, stressing that he did not know how long the offensive would last. He renewed calls for Ukraine’s Western allies to present a united front.

Russian President Vladimir Putin “must be afraid of the strength of the world,” Zelenskyy said, comparing the Russian leader to a “cornered animal” who is “afraid of losing his life.”

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