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Stoltenberg: To become NATO member, Ukraine must first remain sovereign state, win in war with Russia

BRUSSELS. April 3 (Interfax-Ukraine) – NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reiterates that in order for Ukraine to become a member of the alliance, it must first win the war that Russia is waging against it, otherwise there will be no question of membership.

Stoltenberg reiterated his already well-known position at a press conference in Brussels on Monday, answering a question about Ukraine’s membership in the alliance. NATO’s position, he said, remains unchanged – Ukraine will become a member of the alliance. At the same time, he said, the main focus now is to ensure that Ukraine wins as a sovereign independent state in Europe. According to him, without Ukraine winning as an independent state, the whole issue of membership will not matter. Thus, the first step in the direction of any relations between Ukraine and NATO is to guarantee that Ukraine will win, the Secretary General said.

It is for this reason that NATO allies and partners are providing Ukraine and will continue to provide unprecedented support, Stoltenberg explained. That is why they are meeting tomorrow to continue their support for Ukraine, he stressed, referring to the meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Commission scheduled for Tuesday at the level of foreign ministers.

According to Stoltenberg, this is the first and most urgent step. Secondly, they are also looking at how to develop political relations with Ukraine, how to continue to support long–term reforms, the building of institutions, the transition from the standards of the Soviet Union to NATO standards. He said that all this will bring Ukraine closer to NATO. It is important for NATO to demonstrate that the doors of the alliance remain open, and tomorrow Finland will become a full member, Stoltenberg added. He also noted that the process of joining the alliance by Sweden is at the final stage.