New Ukraine president commits to NATO, EU membership

June 4, 2019
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, right, greets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy prior to a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels, Tuesday, June 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

BRUSSELS (AP) — 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 neighboring 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.

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