Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday that Ukraine was “realistic” that it would not be able to join NATO even while fighting Russia.
“We are realistic, we know that we will not be in NATO during the war,” Zelensky said after meeting Dutch and Belgian prime ministers Mark Rutte and Alexander de Crew.
“But we want a very clear message that we will be in NATO after the war,” Zelensky said.
Zelensky made a surprise visit to the Netherlands a day after meeting Nordic leaders in Finland to drum up support ahead of Ukraine’s expected retaliatory strike against Russia.
“The most important thing is to fulfill what was promised to our soldiers as soon as possible,” Zelensky told reporters.
“We hope that the Netherlands and our other partners will help as soon as possible,” Zelensky said.
The Netherlands has so far given or promised 1.2 billion euros in military aid to Ukraine.
This included 45 T-72 tanks, armored personnel carriers and at least 100 Leopard 1 tanks with Denmark and Germany as well as 14 Leopard 2 tanks with Denmark.
This includes eight howitzers and 120mm shells, as well as two Patriot missile systems, 100 mobile air defense cannons and Stinger missiles, the Dutch Defense Ministry said on its website.
Dutch instructors are also helping to train Ukrainian recruits, along with other Western countries.
Zelensky was due to visit a Dutch military base in the central Netherlands on Thursday to see equipment reserved for Ukraine.
Earlier in the day he visited the International Criminal Court, where he pushed for a special tribunal for Ukraine instead of a so-called “hybrid court”.
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