- Ukraine Calls to Speed Up NATO Membership as Russia Masses Troops
by * Clashes and Russian military movements on border raised fears of escalation of separatist conflict
* Kremlin says Nato membership for Ukraine would do no good in resolving conflict in eastern region
President Volodymyr Zelensky called on Nato to lay out a path for Ukraine to join the Western military alliance, after days in which Russia has massed troops near the conflict-hit Donbass region.
Zelenskiy’s comments on Tuesday drew an immediate rebuke from Moscow, which said Kiev’s approach to Nato could further inflame the situation in Donbass, where violence has increased in recent days.
The restrained response to Zelinskiy’s request by the United States – which has strongly supported Ukraine as it faces the Russian military build-up – suggested a desire to avoid unnecessarily antagonising the Kremlin any further. White House press secretary Jen Psaki noted that Ukraine has long aspired to joining Nato and that Washington and Kiev have been discussing the issue.