(Voice of America.)

Ukraine, which is looking for ways toward peace, is ready to give up the NATO perspective. We have been hearing about NATO’s open door for years, but now we’ve also learned that we can not enter there and we have to admit it, says Volodymyr Zelensky.

The Ukrainian president, who has become an idol for many around the globe, obviously expected more from Brussels. Today his country is fighting for everyone, and if it loses – everyone will lose. In Georgia, 20 percent of whose territories are occupied by Russia, the question arises: if Ukraine, which stands in line with Georgia at the NATO door, has been ruled out, where might they see us both then?

Today, Putin’s Russia is fighting Ukraine and its people for their free choice. Today, Putin’s Russia is fighting the West over its support for Ukraine. Today, Putin’s Russia is fighting NATO, and NATO is not yet responding properly.

I think not only Ukraine needs NATO, and NATO needs a freedom-fighting Ukraine that is not afraid of resisting a powerful Russia. I do not think that many Alliance member states alone could resist such hard Russian aggression. Ukraine in the long run is the most important asset of the West. That is why it was attacked by Russia.

Zelensky’s refusal to join NATO does not guarantee that Russia will not try to punish Ukraine, destroy cities, and massacre its population, including children, women, and the elderly.

Putin said that no Ukrainians exist at all, that they are all simply Russians. Anyone who disagrees with this logic is a “fascist” and must be destroyed.

And at this particular dramatic moment, what does Zelensky’s desperate statement that Ukraine cannot join NATO and we shall admit it mean?

Whose weakness has resulted in this statement?

The destruction of the Russian economy and its isolation from the civilized world is not an adequate response to the killing of Ukrainian children.

The only answer to Russian barbarism is to protect the freedom of Ukraine and the lives of Ukrainians, their physical protection, their protection in the air and on land. This is the proper answer to barbarism. We should not lock the gates of the castle for the people who run away from the barbarians, who fight and shed blood for those keeping on building redoubts and feeling safe inside.

It is not the right logic that they do not want to start World War III. Russia can go to war with Ukraine, Georgia, with the Chechens, but it cannot oppose the developed, democratic world in any way. It has no resources to do so.

The country, which accounts for a mere 2 percent of the world economy, with a worn-out Soviet-era military machine, will not be able to wage such large-scale hostilities as what might be called World War III.

Today’s Russian soldier who needs the help of bloodthirsty terrorists from Syria and elsewhere is not even a copy of the Soviet soldier who crossed most of Europe on foot and with a machine gun, whose tall statue still stands in Berlin today. And the allies of that Soviet soldier at the time and the most important driving force in that war were at the same time the greatest democracies. If not the West and the Second Front, Hitler’s Berlin would not have fallen.

Ukrainians are fighting, they do not spare themselves. Georgians are also fighting for their own safety as well as for the safety of others. It is a matter of principle and value. Both nations want freedom, and both of us affirm it with our tragic history. We are both members of a European family. We have no other home.