Mon, 15 Aug 2022

Madrid [Spain], June 29 (ANI): Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has once again appealed to the European countries to admit his country to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military alliance.

"Has Ukraine not paid enough?" Zelenskyy asked leaders of the military alliance as they met in Madrid, Spain on Wednesday.

"Is our contribution to the defence of both Europe and the whole civilization still insufficient? What else is needed then?" he said in an address via video link from Kyiv.

He stressed how a non-NATO member has held back Russian military advances in Ukraine.

"Just think about one fact now: today, a country that is not a member of NATO, albeit with your support, has been holding back a state for more than four months, which you all officially identify as the main threat to yourself. And we are holding back Russia from destroying us and from destroying you," Zelenskyy was quoted as saying by CNN.

"Is it a coincidence that all Allies in the east, all our neighbours, are in favour of Ukraine's membership in NATO? No, this is not a coincidence. This is logic. This is the knowledge of life in our region," he said.

Zelenskyy made these remarks before NATO formally invited Sweden and Finland to join the military alliance.

"We reaffirm our commitment to NATO's Open Door Policy. Today, we have decided to invite Finland and Sweden to become members of NATO, and agreed to sign the Accession Protocols," said NATO Heads of State and Government on Wednesday in a declaration.

"The accession of Finland and Sweden will make them safer, NATO stronger, and the Euro-Atlantic area more secure. The security of Finland and Sweden is of direct importance to the Alliance, including during the accession process," the statement added.

US President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced significant US reinforcements of NATO forces in Europe to meet threats across every domain -- land, air and sea, as the much-awaited transatlantic summit began in Madrid amid the raging conflict in Ukraine.

Addressing alongside the NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg, Biden declared new troop movements, equipment shipments and military installations amid the Russia-Ukraine war.

"The United States and our allies are stepping up and proving that NATO is needed now more than ever, and is as important as it ever has been," Biden was quoted as saying by CNN.

Biden said the US plans to establish a permanent headquarters for the Fifth Army Corps in Poland and maintain an additional rotational brigade of 3,000 troops in Romania.

Besides this, Washington will also enhance rotational deployments to the Baltic States, send additional F-35 fighter jet squadrons to the UK and station additional air defence and other capabilities in Germany and Italy.

The NATO summit was held today, allowing the western military alliance to show a joint front against Moscow, and start the process of Finland and Sweden's inclusion in the alliance.

This summit comes as Turkey lifted its veto over Finland and Sweden's bid to join NATO, ending a dispute that tested the unity of the alliance amid the Ukraine conflict. (ANI)

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