NATO chief: Russia cannot block Ukraine's membership

2023-06-06 15:09:08, Kosova & Bota CNA
NATO chief: Russia cannot block Ukraine's membership
Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Russia cannot block Ukraine's eventual membership in the Western military defense alliance.

"All allies agree that NATO's door remains open, that Ukraine will become a member of the alliance and that Russia has no veto," Stoltenberg said on June 6.

Stoltenberg's statement came during his visit to Slovakia's capital, Bratislava, for talks with the presidents of the member states of the alliance on its eastern border, the so-called Bucharest Nine group.

The launch of the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by Russia in February of last year has intensified the activity of NATO, the alliance founded almost 75 years ago to oppose the Soviet Union.

The talks in Bratislava come just before the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius, where Stoltenberg said the North Atlantic alliance will take "very important" decisions.

"We will strengthen our support for Ukraine with a multi-year aid package to help them transition from Soviet-era standards to NATO standards and bring Ukraine closer to NATO," he said.

"We must agree on a greater commitment to increase investments in defense," added Stoltenberg.

Ukraine has requested NATO membership several times, but Stoltenberg has previously said that membership in the middle of a war is not an option.

He also said he was "working hard to make sure that we welcome Sweden once it becomes a full member of this alliance".

Sweden and Finland switched from their decades-long policy of military non-alignment and applied for NATO membership after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.

Finland officially joined NATO last month, in April./ REL

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