Zelensky Presses Case for Ukraine’s Membership in NATO, EU at Moldova Summit

President Volodymyr Zelensky pressed his case for Ukraine to be part of the NATO military alliance as he joined European leaders on Thursday in Moldova ahead of an expected counter-offensive against Russia’s invasion.

He spoke as divisions between NATO members spilled out into the open over the speed of Ukraine’s accession, with some fearing that a hasty move could bring the alliance closer to direct confrontation with Russia.

Addressing leaders at the start of the gathering, Zelensky asked NATO members to take a clear decision on whether to admit Ukraine and also reiterated calls for Western fighter jets to protect Ukrainian skies after another deadly strike on Kyiv.

“We told President Zelensky that we will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes,” Moldovan President Maia Sandu said at a news conference closing the summit of the EU’s 27 member states and 20 other European states.

She hosted the meeting at a castle just 20 km (12 miles) from Ukrainian territory and near the Russian-backed, breakaway Transdniestria region of Moldova.

The summit was a security and organisational challenge for Moldova, an ex-Soviet republic of 2.5 million people that is seeking a path to EU accession while being wary of Russia. Moldova shut its airspace except for official delegation planes.

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