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Nagpur: Ukraine President Volodymr Zelensky on Wednesday announced that Ukraine will no longer be seeking NATO membership. The leader cited Russia as the reason for invading its pro-western neighbor.

In an address, Zelensky said that he has ‘cooled down regarding the question of a NATO membership for the country.’ As per reports, it is said that the Ukrainian leader is open to discussing the status of two breakaway pro-Russian domains of Donetsk and Lugansk which Moscow insists are independent republics.

“I have cooled down regarding this question a long time ago after we understood that … NATO is not prepared to accept Ukraine,” he said. Zelensky further added that Ukraine did not want to be a country that is ‘begging something on its knees.’

Putin-led Russia has been against its neighbor joining NATO and now wants Ukraine to recognize them as sovereign and independent too. While talking about Russian demands, Zelensky said that he was open to dialogue.

Ukraine and Russia- What’s the history?

30 years ago, Ukraine gained independence, after the fall of the Soviet Union. Since then the country has struggled to combat corruption and bridge the internal divisions. Tensions rose between the two nations when Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych rejected an agreement with the European Union back in 2013. The agreement was in favour of closer ties with Moscow. Turning down the agreement saw a large number of protests which led to overthrowing him as the leader in 2014.

Following the crisis in 2014, the Russian troops saw the opportunity and took control of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine. Three years later, in 2017, the Ukraine and European Union signed an agreement for opening markets for free trade of goods and services as well as visa-free travel for Ukrainians across all EU nations.

What does Russia want from Ukraine?

The power-hungry Russia sees North Atlantic Alliance (NATO’s) support to Ukraine as a threat to itself and that’s the reason why Moscow is against Kyiv joining the NATO. Another demand by Moscow stated to halt any NATO drills near Russia’s border and also wants the international organization to withdraw its forces from the Eastern Europe.

US President Joe Biden had earlier said that if Russia invades Ukraine, there will be severe consequences and will be sending in their troops. Meanwhile, on the other hand, China has extended full support to the Putin-led Russian government.
This invasion is being termed as the beginning of ‘world war 3,’ with several countries choosing their sides.

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