In a video address on Sept. 30, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine has applied for NATO membership. The country, according to him, should count on the NATO fast-track accession.
"De facto, we have already become a NATO ally. We trust each other, we help each other, and we protect each other. This is the Alliance," Zelensky said. "Today Ukraine submits an application to make this de jure. (Our accession) would be a formal solidifying of the real state of things we've already achieved."
In his speech, Zelensky said that Ukraine is ready for peace talks with Russia but only with a different Russian president.
"It was our state that repeatedly offered Russia to agree on coexistence on equal, honest, dignified, and fair terms. It is obvious that this is impossible with this Russian president. He does not know what dignity and honesty are. Therefore, we are ready for a dialogue with Russia, but with another president of Russia," Zelensky added.
Zelensky's video address follows the televised address and ceremony where Russian dictator Vladimir Putin claimed annexation of four Ukrainian regions that Russia partly occupied.
An hour prior, Russia declared the annexation of four Ukrainian oblasts – Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kherson oblasts – after staged referendums at gunpoint. Russia laid claim to the entire regions that its forces partly occupy.
After facing defeat on the battlefield, Putin declared mobilization on Sept. 21. "Mobilization measures will begin today," Putin said then.
In his speech, Putin once again called Kyiv "fascist," saying it was Ukraine that invaded Russia in 2014. "When its territorial integrity is threatened, Russia will use everything it can, this is not a bluff," Putin added.