On Tuesday, Zelenskiy spoke to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and argued that Ukraine joining the alliance was the only way to end the Donbass war. He said: “A Membership Action Plan laying out Ukraine’s entry path into the alliance will be a real signal for Russia.” Zelenskiy also called for more NATO military presence in the Black Sea region in response to the growing presence of Russian troops since March.
This comes after two more soldiers died in the ongoing battle between Russian separatists in the Donbass region and Ukrainian troops.
Since the start of the conflict in 2014 after Russia invaded the Crimea, 14,000 people have died and so far this year 24 soldiers.
In a charm offensive to guarantee western support on the issue, the president has been in touch with countries such as Canada which have a longstanding community of Ukrainian immigrants.
Speaking to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Zelenskiy said: “As a special partner of Ukraine, Canada could take the lead among allies who support a MAP (Membership Action Plan) solution for Ukraine. Canada’s support will be an important signal of support from true friends.”
The Kremlin has been steadfast in rebutting Ukraine’s call to join NATO, suggesting the move could inflate the situation further, and argued that those living in eastern Ukraine were opposed to NATO membership.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “So far we’re not seeing an intention by the Ukrainian side to somehow calm down and move away from belligerent topics.”
Since 2015, there has been a ceasefire in place on both sides of the conflict. However, this has not prevented sporadic fighting from continuing.