NATO must confirm Ukraine as de facto member: Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says the majority of NATO members stand together with his country and the Vilnius summit must confirm that Ukraine is a de facto member of the military alliance.

“The majority of the alliance stands firmly with us,” President Zelensky said in his nightly video message late on Monday (local time).

“When we applied for membership of NATO, we spoke frankly: de facto, Ukraine is already in the alliance. Our weapons are the weapons of the alliance. Our values are what the alliance believes in… Vilnius must confirm all this.”

President Zelensky said further weapons supplies for Ukraine in its war against Russia would also be discussed at the summit, which begins on Tuesday.

“I am sure that there could well be positive news regarding weapons for our men from Vilnius,” he said.

Local emergency services said on Monday that a Russian attack on a humanitarian aid distribution point in south-eastern Ukraine killed seven people.

Yuriy Malashko, governor of Zaporizhzhia region, said a guided aviation bomb was used in Sunday’s attack on a school building being used to distribute aid in the small town of Orikhiv.

Ukrainian emergency services said three bodies were retrieved from under rubble on Monday, bringing the death toll to seven.

Rescue and recovery operations were now complete.

Governor Malashko said 11 people wounded in the attack were being treated in hospital.

The General Prosecutor’s office said the incident was being investigated as a war crime.

The prosecutor’s office said that two people had been killed and three wounded on Monday in Russian shelling of the village of Hostre and the city of Avdiivka in the Donetsk region.

Reuters could not independently verify the reports.

Russia, which began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, denies deliberately targeting civilians.

Ukraine’s military is conducting a counteroffensive to try to retake Russian-occupied territory in the Zaporizhzhia region.

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