NATO ‘never looked weaker’ – Zelensky
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned NATO on Tuesday, furthering his criticism of the alliance in the wake of Russia’s assault, claiming the US-led military bloc is not committed to the Article 5 collective defense clause.
Speaking in a video address, the Ukrainian leader claimed that the mutual defense article has never looked “as weak as it is today.” He argued that NATO would likely fail to protect its own members if one came under assault from an adversary, such as Russia.
NATO has refused to send troops directly to defend Ukraine, as it is not part of the military alliance, and warned that its involvement would lead to direct confrontation with Russia. Zelensky suggested, however, that the bloc would respond “in the same way” if Russia attacked a member state.
Leaders from NATO countries have repeatedly rejected any suggestion that they are not committed to the Article 5 clause that guarantees the mutual defense between member states. Speaking in Lithuania last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken described America’s commitment to Article 5 as “sacrosanct.”
The latest criticism from Zelensky came as the Ukrainian leader seemingly conceded that his country will never join NATO, stating that his citizens have “realized” they won’t be permitted to be part of the alliance.
“For years we've heard the opposite, open doors, however, it is not,” Zelensky said in his speech, apparently accepting one of the demands made by Russia prior to the military assault on Ukraine. “Our people understand this, and we are beginning to count on our own strength,” the Ukrainian leader added.