Ukraine’s long-standing pleas for NATO membership received an affirmative response Tuesday with the promise of it joining “in the long term” sure to infuriate Moscow.
The secretary-general of the Western military alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, stressed the immediate challenge is Ukraine remaining an independent nation free from the invading forces of neighbor Russia as he flagged the future membership.
“NATO allies have agreed that Ukraine will become a member of our alliance, but at the same time that is a long-term perspective,” Stoltenberg told reporters during a visit to Finland’s capital Helsinki, the Daily Mail reports.
Stoltenberg’s statement reaffirmed the belief already held in Kiev that membership is only a step away.
‘It’s a Fact’ – Ukrainian Govt Declares Country Is ‘De Facto’ NATO Member https://t.co/sxgXNLUDuE
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 13, 2023
Putin has previously cited NATO’s broadening of its borders into eastern Europe as one reason behind his assault on Ukraine.
Ukraine applied to integrate with the alliance with a NATO Membership Action Plan in 2008, but plans to join were shelved following the 2010 election of Viktor Yanukovych, who chose to keep the country non-aligned, the Mail report sets out.
They were revived again in 2014, as Breitbart News reported.
Ukraine Announces Intention to Join NATO: Ukraine is taking steps to formally join NATO after President Petro … http://t.co/CQ60uXWKu3
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) November 25, 2014
On September 2022, months after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine (launched by Putin on February 24, 2022) and following the Russian annexation of four eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, the country formally applied to join NATO.
Stoltenberg’s comments came as Finland prepared to debate its own bid to join the military alliance which was sparked by Putin’s imperialistic endeavors.