VILNIUS – Lithuania and eight other Central and Eastern European NATO member states on Sunday voiced their backing for Ukraine's membership of the Alliance and reiterated their support for the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
"We do not recognize and will never recognize Russian attempts to annex any Ukrainian territory," the presidents of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, North Macedonia and Montenegro said in a joint statement.
"We firmly stand behind the 2008 Bucharest NATO Summit decision concerning Ukraine’s future membership," they said.
The nine presidents also demanded Russia's immediate withdrawal from all occupied territories and called on all Allies to step up their military aid to Ukraine.
"All those who commit crimes of aggression must be held accountable and brought to justice," they said.
Ukraine has long aspired to become a NATO member, but some members of the Alliance are skeptical about Kyiv's chances of joining the bloc.
President Volodymyr Zelensky signed Ukraine's application for accelerated accession to NATO on Friday, hours after Russia formally annexed four Moscow-held regions of Ukraine.