The Ukrainian leader appealed to many European leaders as the divisions among NATO members meeting in Norway became apparent.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy brought his quest for more weapons and Ukrainian membership in powerful Western institutions to a broad summit of European leaders.
But while Zelenskyy renewed his demands for NATO and EU membership at the meeting of the European Political Community in Moldova, held on Thursday, the leaders of the military alliance gathered in Norway and were divided on the call for Ukraine.
Zelenskyy said that all countries bordering Russia should be full members of both organizations because Moscow “tries to swallow only those outside the common security space”.
He called for more European support on the ground, which he said was saving lives and “literally facilitating peace”.
According to Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker, who reported from the summit, Zelenskyy was the first foreign leader to arrive at the venue, a move that could not have been “by chance”.
The choice to hold the summit in Moldova, a former Soviet republic of approximately 2.6 million people near Ukraine, was seen as a message to the Kremlin from the EU and Moldova’s pro-Western government.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said at the summit, “Our meeting today with Moldova speaks volumes. The country has a border with Ukraine and here, the Russian threat is visible.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also attended.
Meanwhile in Norway, divisions among NATO allies over the speed of Kyiv’s participation became apparent, just weeks before a decisive mid-July summit in Vilnius.
“All allies agree that Moscow has no veto against the enlargement of NATO,” NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg told reporters at the foreign ministers meeting in Oslo, seeking to dispel any signs of in conflict.
NATO agreed in 2008 that Ukraine would eventually join the alliance but leaders have so far stopped short of taking steps, such as giving Kyiv a membership action plan, that would set a timetable for bringing Ukraine closer to the military pact.
While Kyiv and its closest allies in Eastern Europe have called for concrete steps to bring Ukraine closer to membership, Western governments, such as the United States and Germany, are wary of any move that could bring the alliance closer to the war with Russia.
Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said that Kyiv suffered two invasions while waiting for a response from NATO for 14 years.
“It’s high time we actually sit down and find a concrete answer on how Ukraine should move closer to NATO and if they can become a member of the alliance,” he said, a call echoed by his Estonian counterpart. . .
Other allies, such as Germany and Luxembourg, have highlighted the risks if NATO rushes to allow Kyiv to join, while Hungary has made it clear that Ukraine’s NATO membership will not be on the agenda in the future. summit.
“The open door policy of NATO remains in place, but at the same time, it is clear that we cannot talk about accepting new members. [who are] in the middle of a war,” said German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.