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Stoltenberg: Full NATO membership for Ukraine impossible until end of war

Stoltenberg: Full NATO membership for Ukraine impossible until end of war NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (Getty Images)

Ukraine's full membership in NATO is not possible until the active hostilities stop, as NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says at a press conference in Brussels before the meeting of the Alliance foreign ministers.

"It's too early to say exactly what will be the decision at the Washington summit. All allies agree that in the midst of war, full membership is not possible. But, of course, we will continue to, looking to address how we can move Ukraine and NATO even closer together, as we prepare for the Washington summit," Stoltenberg said.

He mentioned the shortening of Ukraine's path to NATO membership from two steps to one by removing the requirement for a Membership Action Plan (MAP) requirement for Ukraine. So, that step has already been taken... As we actually also dis for Finland and Sweden," he noted.

He also emphasized the establishment of the Ukraine-NATO Council, which "is an important body where Ukraine and all NATO allies meet around the same table with the same rights, with the same obligations where they can make decisions together."

"That moves Ukraine significantly closer to NATO by establishing the decision-making body... And that Council will meet for the first time this week when Minister (of Foreign Affairs Dmytro) Kuleba comes to NATO," Stoltenberg said.

According to him, the Alliance has significantly harmonized a comprehensive program to ensure full inter compatibility between the Armed Forces of Ukraine and NATO forces.

"This will help them to come closer to doors, to cooperate together with NATO forces... On top of that, NATO allies are delivering F-16s, artillery, battle tanks, and training. And this is in a practical way helps bring Ukraine closer to NATO," added the Secretary-General.

Ukraine's NATO accession

Ukraine expected to receive an invitation to join NATO at the summit in Vilnius this summer. Kyiv understood that it would only have the opportunity to join the North Atlantic Alliance after the end of the war but wanted to receive a kind of political signal from its allies.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg recently stated that Ukraine would receive an invitation when "all allies agree and conditions are met." In particular, NATO member countries agreed that Ukraine could join the Alliance without the Membership Action Plan, using a simplified procedure.

The foreign ministers of NATO will provide recommendations to Ukraine on its accession to the Alliance at the meeting on November 28-29.