Ukraine, Sweden agree to coordinate on NATO membership

Ukraine, Sweden agree to coordinate on NATO membership

Ukrainian president holds phone conversation with Swedish premier ahead of upcoming NATO summit in Lithuanian capital

By Burc Eruygur

ISTANBUL (AA) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday agreed with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson to coordinate efforts concerning their countries’ NATO membership.

“A phone call with Prime Minister of Sweden Ulf Kristersson … We agreed to coordinate efforts to bring NATO membership closer for Ukraine and Sweden,” Zelenskyy said in a statement on Telegram, ahead of an upcoming NATO summit in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius later this month.

Zelenskyy further said that he and Kristersson discussed the latest situation surrounding the war in Ukraine, the pace of the implementation of agreements reached between Kyiv and Stockholm on defense support, as well as the latest developments in Russia.

“I am grateful for Sweden's effective six-month Presidency of the Council of the European Union and its active participation in the preparation of two sanctions packages against the aggressor country,” Zelenskyy said.

In a separate statement on Twitter, Zelensky said he listed Ukraine’s needs in terms of defense support, particularly with regard to air defense.

Referring to the “armed rebellion” last month by the Wagner paramilitary group against the Kremlin, he said the latest developments in Russia are “evidence of a split in Russian society and the weakness of the power vertical.”

“In such circumstances, further political pressure on Russia and military support for Ukraine will be most effective,” he said.

Sweden, together with Finland, applied for NATO membership soon after Russia launched a war in Ukraine in February 2022.

Although Türkiye approved Finland's membership to NATO, it is waiting for Sweden to abide by a trilateral memorandum signed in June 2022 in Madrid to address Ankara's security concerns on terrorism.

Meanwhile, Ukraine officially submitted its application for fast-track NATO membership last September, following Russia's annexation of four Ukrainian regions. But NATO allies appear divided on the matter, saying that a new member in the middle of a war is not a priority.

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