Ukraine is no longer seeking membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), said President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky in an interview with U.S. TV channel ABC News, AFP reported.
Zelensky explained that this was because NATO is "not prepared to accept Ukraine".
Ukraine understands that NATO is not prepared to accept it as a member
"Regarding NATO, I lost interest in this issue after we realised that NATO is not ready to accept Ukraine. The alliance is afraid of contradictory things and confrontation with the Russian Federation," he said, according to Ukraine news agency Interfax-Ukraine.
Russia's stated conditions for a ceasefire include requiring Ukraine to change its constitution to enshrine neutrality, which would preclude it from joining NATO or any similar organisation, Reuters reported.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has also demanded that NATO ban Ukraine from entering the American-led alliance.
Another condition is the acknowledgement of Crimea as Russian territory.
In what appeared to be a further acquiescence to Russia, Zelensky also said he is open to "compromise" on the status of the two separatist territories of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states, AFP reported.
Days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Putin gave a televised address, recognising the eastern Ukrainian provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk as breakaway, independent states.
Zelensky said in the interview that he was open to "discuss and find a compromise" on the matter, but pointed out that these "temporarily occupied territories and unrecognised republics" are currently only recognised by Russia.
Zelensky insisted that Ukraine would not be a country that "begs for something on its knees", and maintained:
"I'm ready for a dialogue, but we're not ready for surrender."
Why is Russia against Ukraine's involvement with NATO?
In September 2020, Zelensky also approved a new National Security Strategy, which included membership in NATO as a stated aim.
Previously, the Ukrainian army has also hosted joint military exercises with NATO forces, according to Reuters.
These moves were categorised by Putin as part of a new military strategy of "confrontation with Russia and sets the goal of involving foreign states in a conflict with our country".
However, despite Ukraine's aspirations towards NATO (and Putin making it an issue), it's not about to join the alliance for it doesn't fulfil its requirements -- Ukraine still struggles with addressing the issues of official corruption for instance, as AP pointed out.
Top photo via Office of the President of Ukraine on Facebook
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