Zelensky demands clear timeframe for NATO membership
Amid rising tensions over NATO's eastward expansion, Kiev demands a timeframe for when it would be able to join the alliance as a member.
Ukraine is still eyeing NATO membership, and its president Volodymyr Zelensky said Kiev wanted a "clear" timeframe for when it can join the alliance.
"What can we do? We can continue forcefully supporting Ukraine and its defenses. Present... clear, feasible timeframes for membership of the Alliance," he told a security forum on Saturday.
Western powers should drop their policy of "appeasement" toward Moscow, Zelensky added in Munich as tensions soar between his country and NATO on one side and Russia on the other.
"Ukraine has received security guarantees for abandoning the world's third-largest nuclear arsenal. We have no weapons. And no security," Zelensky claimed before the forum.
However, he said, "We have a right - a right to demand a shift from a policy of appeasement to one ensuring security and peace."
He also went on to boast about Ukraine's prominence in the "defense against Russia," calling it "Europe's shield against the Russian army," and noting that it warranted stronger international support.
"For eight years, Ukraine has been a shield. For eight years, Ukraine has been holding back one of the greatest armies in the world," Zelensky asserted.
After saying what he said about Russia, he proposed a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin aimed at averting a Russian "invasion" of Ukraine.
"I do not know what the Russian president wants. For this reason, I propose that we meet," Zelensky said after Russia underlined on several occasions that it wanted security guarantees that NATO would not expand eastward.
Russia insists that it has no intention of attacking any country, seeing the Western accusations as a pretext to deploy more NATO military equipment close to Russia's borders.
As Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of malice, Kiev launched several offensives against the Donetsk People's Republic and Russia's Rostov.