By Staff, Agencies British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there is “no way Ukraine is going to join NATO anytime soon” as Ukraine’s leader said peace talks with Russia had taken a “realistic turn.” Johnson, who is visiting the Gulf as he tries to wean the West off Russian energy, said he understood the “reality of the position” expressed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in an address to London.
Zelensky, in a video call to Johnson and representatives from Baltic and northern European countries gathered on Tuesday, expressed his frustration that Ukraine had not been allowed to join NATO, but said: “This is the truth and we have simply to accept it as it is.” Johnson, speaking to broadcasters at the Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, said: “I talked to Volodymyr [Zelensky] again yesterday and of course I understand what he is saying about NATO and the reality of the position." “And everybody has always said – and we’ve made it clear to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin – that there is no way Ukraine is going to join NATO any time soon.” Johnson, however, said decisions about the future of the country had to “be for the Ukrainian people” and their “elected leader” to make, as he vowed Britain would continue to “back” Zelensky.
The UK government announced more than 370 Russian and Belarussian sanctions on Tuesday, bringing the total number of individuals, entities, and subsidiaries put under strict measures at more than 1,000 since the invasion of Ukraine began.
On 24 February, Russia began a military operation in Ukraine responding to calls for help from the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.
Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that "demilitarization and de-nazification" are among the key goals of the special operation.
Moscow has repeatedly stressed that it has no plans to occupy Ukraine, insisting the armed forces only target the country's military infrastructure