Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Tuesday that although NATO is the “strongest defense alliance in the world,” some of its members “are hypnotized by Russian aggression,” in a videoconference message to European leaders meeting in London.
Zelenski was speaking at a meeting of leaders of the Nordic and Baltic countries convened by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson—the so-called Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF)—to discuss security in Northern Europe in the face of the growing threat from Russia.
The Ukrainian president regretted that the Atlantic Alliance does not apply a no-fly zone over Ukraine to prevent Russian attacks and pointed out that the international sanctions applied so far “are not enough,” while calling for a total “trade embargo” on Russia.
“We hear a lot of talk about a Third World War, which would supposedly start if NATO closes the Ukrainian sky to Russian missiles and aircraft; thus, the humanitarian no-fly corridor has not yet been established,” he lamented.
“This allows the Russian Army to bomb peaceful towns and blow up housing blocks, hospitals, and schools,” the president told the leaders gathered at London’s Lancaster House.
Zelensky expressed his frustration that, despite its alleged open-door policy, NATO has not admitted his country as a member, something Ukraine has no choice but to accept, and urged that other avenues of military collaboration be sought.
The president criticized the fact that many companies have not yet withdrawn from Russian territory and called on governments to block Russian ships from entering their ports and to exclude all Russian banks from the Swift financial messaging system.
Zelensky also asked for more weaponry—”you know the kind we need, everybody knows it,” he said—and said that the weaponry they receive is used within 20 hours.
JEF, led by the UK, is a northern European security coalition, bringing together representatives from Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Norway, several of them bordering Russia.