Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday that his country is applying “under an accelerated procedure” to become a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
He signed Ukraine’s application together with Speaker of the Parliament Ruslan Stefanchuk and Prime Minister Denys Shmygal.
“It is here, in Ukraine, that the values of our Euro-Atlantic community have obtained real vital energy,” Zelensky said in a pre-recorded video message. “The strength of the nation that fights for freedom, and the strength of the nations that help in this fight.”
He said that “de facto,” Ukraine had already “completed our path” to NATO.
“Today, Ukraine is applying to make it de jure. Under a procedure consistent with our significance for the protection of our entire community, under an accelerated procedure,” he said.
Zelensky said that he understood that accession would require consensus of NATO members.
“And therefore, while this is happening, we offer to implement our proposals regarding security guarantees for Ukraine and all of Europe in accordance with the Kyiv Security Compact, which was developed and presented to our partners.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday that member states of the alliance support Ukraine’s “right to choose its own path” after Zelensky made the announcement.
And Stoltenberg cautioned that any decision on membership has to be taken by all 30 members of the alliance.
“NATO allies, when they met at the NATO Summit in Madrid, stated also very clearly that we support Ukraine’s right to choose its own path, to decide what kind of security arrangements it wants to be a part of,” Stoltenberg told a news conference.
“Every democracy in Europe has the right to apply for NATO membership, and NATO allies respect that right and we have stated again and again that NATO’s door remains open. And we have demonstrated that over the last [few] years,” he said.
CNN’s Sharon Braithwaite and Arnaud Siad contributed reporting to this post.