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Stoltenberg hopes Ukraine will join NATO within 10 years

by Martin Fornusek July 5, 2024 2:33 PM 2 min read
Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), during a news conference on the opening day of the annual NATO Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, on July 11, 2023. (Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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Outgoing NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg hopes that Ukraine will join the alliance within the next 10 years, he said in an interview with the DPA news agency published on July 5.

Western officials said Ukraine will not receive a membership invitation at the upcoming NATO summit in Washington but can expect "concrete ways" to accelerate its entry.

Ukraine applied for NATO membership in September 2022, half a year into Russia's full-scale invasion, but has yet to receive a clear timetable for entry. Kyiv's hopes for an invitation were dashed during the 2023 summit in Vilnius.

"I strongly hope that Ukraine will be an ally," Stoltenberg responded to a question about NATO's possible expansion within the following decade.

Ukraine's membership in the alliance has been a hotly debated issue. While many NATO leaders, including Stoltenberg, have repeatedly said that Kyiv's future is within the alliance, several top players appear hesitant.

U.S. President Joe Biden said in an interview with Time magazine in June that peace in Ukraine does not automatically mean NATO membership.

"Peace looks like making sure Russia never, never, never, never occupies Ukraine. That's what peace looks like. And it doesn't mean NATO, they are part of NATO," Biden said.

President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has repeatedly called on partners to issue a membership invitation to Kyiv, said that Ukraine will join NATO only after Russia's full-scale war ends, echoing Stoltenberg.

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