New Ukraine president hopes country will join NATO, EU
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy smiles prior to his meeting with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, May 30, 2019.
The Associated Press
Published Tuesday, June 4, 2019 12:42PM EDT
BRUSSELS -- Ukraine's new president says his country still hopes to become a member of the NATO military alliance and the European Union but he is open to peace talks with neighbouring Russia.
Standing beside NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels on Tuesday, Volodymyr Zelenskiy said "the strategic course of Ukraine to achieve full-fledged membership in the EU and NATO ... remains unchanged."
Zelenskiy says "armed aggression from Russia is a major challenge" but he stands ready to negotiate with Moscow and respect the Minsk agreement meant to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
NATO and EU leaders had been waiting to hear the foreign policy aims of the politically inexperienced former television comedian sworn in last month.