Ukraine will join NATO in the 'long-term', alliance's secretary general confirms

28 February 2023, 12:11

NATO's Secretary General said he believes Ukraine will join NATO and the European Union in the future
NATO's Secretary General said he believes Ukraine will join NATO and the European Union in the future. Picture: Getty/Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Ukraine will join NATO in the "long-term", the alliance's secretary general has said after Vladimir Putin accused the western military alliance of participating in the war.

While Jens Stoltenberg said that NATO's current primary concern is ensuring Ukraine remains independent from Russia, he confirmed that NATO allies have agreed that the country will become a member in the future.

He told reporters in Finland: "NATO allies have agreed that Ukraine will become a member of our alliance, but at the same time that is a long-term perspective."

Mr Stoltenberg also warned history cannot be allowed to repeat itself by ensuring Putin does not continue to attack neighbours.

Ukraine has formally committed to joining NATO
Ukraine has formally committed to joining NATO. Picture: Getty

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He continued: "He wants to control Ukraine and he is not planning for peace, he is planning for more war. 

"I see that the future of Ukraine is to be part of the European Union and also a member of NATO."

Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, President Zelenskyy urged the western alliance to fast-track his country's membership into NATO, but the country is yet to become an official member.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Picture: Getty

Ukraine's potential membership in NATO is a contentious for President Putin, who said the eastern expansion of NATO's borders was one of the main reasons behind the invasion of Ukraine.

It comes as Finland attempts to accelerate its own bid to join NATO after it submitted an application to join alongside Sweden in May 2022.

Both countries have the support of most NATO members, with Hungary and Turkey seen to be holding up the country's applications.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin of Finland
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin of Finland. Picture: Getty

Mr Stoltenberg said both Finland and Sweden have delivered on what they promised as party of their application.

He continued: "The time is now to ratify and to fully welcome Finland and Sweden as members".

A vote on Finland's application is expected by Wednesday and is expected to pass with little opposition, though it has stressed it would prefer to join alongside Sweden.

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