Deputy head of Russia’s security council Dmitry Medvedev has slammed Ukraine’s renewed bid to promptly join the US-led NATO military alliance as an effort that would only “hasten the start of World War III.”
"[Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky wants to speed up NATO membership. Great idea. He just begs NATO to hasten the start of World War III," Medvedev wrote in a Friday post on his Telegram channel as cited by Russia’s TASS news agency.
The senior politician further underlined that in his opinion "the guy [Zelensky] has clearly had enough of it" in an apparent reference to the recent accession of four eastern Ukrainian regions Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia to Russia following a referendum that overwhelmingly favored the move.
Medvedev also mocked US President Joe Biden’s refusal to recognize the fact that the new territories had opted to join Russia, sarcastically adding, "It is strange that he remembered about us. However, it's a shame. We could have found a good place to open an American consulate in the new subjects of the Russian Federation."
The statements came after the Ukrainian president formally applied for a fast-track NATO membership following the signing of a decree by his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for the formal accession of the four regions.
“Today, Ukraine is submitting an application to do this de jure... We are taking our decisive step by signing Ukraine’s application for accelerated membership in NATO,” Zelensky declared in a Friday post on Telegram.
However, he said the votes breached international law and called the referendums “worthless.”
“Donbas is and will be Ukrainian. This is our land, our people. We will never give ours to the occupiers,” he said.
“De facto, we have already made our way to NATO. De facto, we have already proven our compatibility with the alliance’s standards. They are real for Ukraine – real on the battlefield and in all aspects of our cooperation,” Zelensky wrote.
This is while Moscow has repeatedly warned Kiev against its membership proposals to NATO, slamming the move a “purely destabilizing” measure.
Moscow has also warned the US-led military alliance against its further expansion towards Russia’s borders.
In his remarks on the Nordic countries’ bid to join NATO, Putin said the expansion of NATO’s military infrastructure into this territory would “certainly provoke our response.”
Russia’s ongoing “special military operation” in Ukraine was launched in February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements and Moscow’s recognition of the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Before sending its armed forces into Ukraine, Moscow had been demanding legally binding guarantees that Ukraine would never be admitted to the US-led military alliance.
Since the onset of the war, the US and its NATO allies have supplied billions of dollars’ worth of weaponry to Ukraine and imposed all sorts of sanctions against Moscow.