Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said his country has to accept that it will not become a member of the NATO military alliance, a critical Russian concern that was used to justify the invasion.
“Ukraine is not a member of NATO. We understand that. We have heard for years that the doors were open, but we also heard that we could not join. It’s a truth and it must be recognized,” Zelensky said during a video conference with the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force on Tuesday.
He also again urged Western allies to provide Ukraine with fighter planes.
At the same time, Zelensky again called on NATO, which has provided the Ukrainian military with weapons and ammunition, to establish a no-fly zone over his country. U.S. and NATO officials have said such an agreement is not feasible as it would likely escalate the conflict with Russia.
Peace talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegations restarted Tuesday after a pause on Monday, according to Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak.
But Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told news outlets that it was too early to predict the outcome, saying: “The work is difficult, and in the current situation the very fact that [the talks] are continuing is probably positive.”
Last week, Zelensky told ABC News that he realized that Ukraine wouldn’t join NATO “long ago” and came to that conclusion “after we understood that NATO is not prepared to accept Ukraine.” He did not elaborate.