May 21, 2024
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced Ukraine's application for rapid ascension into the NATO alliance on Friday, which coincides with Russian President Vladimir Putin's approval of the annexation of four Ukrainian territories.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced Ukraine’s application for rapid ascension into the NATO alliance on Friday, which coincides with Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s approval of the annexation of four Ukrainian territories.

Putin’s recognition of the referendums, which have universally been condemned by the West as fraudulent and illegitimate, demonstrates a significant escalation in the war that just completed its seventh month.

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“We are de facto allies,” Zelensky said in a statement. “This has already been achieved. De facto, we have already completed our path to NATO. De facto, we have already proven interoperability with the Alliance’s standards, they are real for Ukraine — real on the battlefield and in all aspects of our interaction.”

“We trust each other, we help each other and we protect each other,” Zelensky continued. “This is what the Alliance is. De facto,” he added. “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.”

The move from Zelensky will likely anger Putin, who has claimed that NATO expansion on its eastern flank was justification for the war.

Following Putin’s signing on Friday, the Biden administration announced new sanctions against top Russian officials and warned that it would target international suppliers that aid Moscow’s war effort.

The departments of Treasury, Commerce, and State targeted Russian government leaders, military officials, and their family members. The Treasury sanctioned 14 international suppliers for supporting Russia’s military supply chains and is designating the Russian Central Bank governor, Elvira Nabiullina, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, and others.

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“There will be costs for any individual, entity, or country that provides political or economic support to Russia as a result of its illegal attempts to change the status of Ukrainian territory,” a senior administration official said.

Earlier in the war, Finland and Sweden applied to join the alliance in order to ensure they would be protected in the event of further Russian aggression.

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