NewsBreak: NATO Agrees Ukraine Will Become a Member

All NATO members have agreed that Ukraine will eventually join the military alliance, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced on Friday.

Stoltenberg’s statement to reporters came ahead of the 11th meeting of the Ukrainian Defense Group at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany. However, Stoltenberg fell short of offering a timeline on when Ukraine could become a member of NATO and said the main focus now is to ensure the country prevails in the ongoing conflict with Russia.

In September 2022, Ukraine announced a bid for fast-track membership of NATO after Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow had annexed four Ukrainian regions partially controlled by Russia. Should Ukraine become a member of the military alliance, NATO would be obligated to take action to defend it against Russia in the ongoing war.

Ukraine must have “the deterrence to prevent new attacks” once the conflict ends, Stoltenberg told reporters.

His remarks come after he visited Kyiv on Thursday for the first time since Putin invaded Ukraine in February 2022, and as Ukraine is expected to soon launch a counteroffensive aimed at recapturing territory seized by Russian forces.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the visit by Stoltenberg as a “new chapter” in relations with NATO.

The Ukrainian leader said following discussions with Stoltenberg on Thursday that while he is grateful for an invitation to attend a NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, in July, he believes it is “important that Ukraine also receive a corresponding invitation.”

“There is not a single objective barrier that would prevent the adoption of political decisions on inviting Ukraine to the Alliance. And right now, when the majority of people in NATO countries and the majority of Ukrainians support the entry of our state into the Alliance, it is time for appropriate decisions. It is no longer possible to imagine the security of the Euro-Atlantic space without Ukraine, and people understand this,” Zelensky said.

A Newsweek poll conducted this month found that more than half of American voters said they want Ukraine to join NATO . The survey was conducted on April 4 by Redfield & Wilton Strategies on behalf of Newsweek , and polled 1,500 eligible U.S. voters.

Commenting on Stoltenberg’s trip to Ukraine, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday that stopping Ukraine from joining NATO was “unconditionally” one of the goals of his country’s invasion, “otherwise there would be a serious, substantial threat to our country and its security.”

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