NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that the 31 allied members were in agreement that Russia can’t prevent Ukraine’s eventual membership.
“All allies also agree that Ukraine will become a member of the alliance, and all allies agree that it is for the NATO allies and Ukraine to decide when Ukraine becomes a member,” Stoltenberg said ahead of an informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Oslo.
“It is not for Moscow to have a veto against NATO enlargement,” he added, going on to say that the alliance’s “most important and urgent” task is that Ukraine “prevails as a sovereign, independent nation.”
“Russia must not win this war,” said Stoltenberg.
The meeting in Oslo was set to discuss long-term support for Ukraine. However, Stoltenberg envisions a multi-year plan to align Ukraine with NATO standards and protocols. He expects that plan to be established by July, in time for NATO’s formal summit in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told reporters outside of the European Political Community (EPC) Summit in Moldova that he welcomed the support from Stoltenberg.
“What is very important is our future in the EU and Ukraine is ready to be in NATO, we are waiting for when NATO will be ready to host and to see and to have Ukraine,” said Zelensky.
He added, “I think security guarantees are very important, not only for Ukraine, [but] for our neighbors, for Moldova, because of the Russian aggression in Ukraine and potential aggression for other parts of Europe.”