Ukraine joining NATO is "just a matter of time": Zelensky on his talks with Stoltenberg
Regarding Ukraine acquiring NATO membership, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said, "it is only a matter of time" before Ukraine becomes a de jure member of the Alliance during his talks with Jens Stoltenberg.
During the meeting, the Ukrainian leader welcomed the NATO Secretary General's visit to Ukraine and said he was glad to have a meaningful conversation.
We are doing everything to bring this time closer. Ukraine already defends the common space of freedom that unites all NATO members, and the victory of Ukraine in this unprovoked and criminal war that was unleashed by Russia is guaranteed to ensure long-term security and peace, and not only for our state, but for the entire continent.
The Secretary-General reassured that NATO will support Ukraine "as long as it takes"
Zelensky listed the results of cooperation between Ukraine and NATO, which has strengthened defense coalitions. He added that Ukraine's membership in the Alliance will be natural and strengthen both the state and NATO.
Today, we discussed with Mr. Secretary-General all the key defense issues that require attention: the real situation on the battlefield and the needs of Ukrainian soldiers. I am confident that we can continue to put pressure on the aggressor so that Russia only retreats and loses. And this is the right tactic, Zelensky emphasized.
Previously, both leaders discussed the supply of additional air defense systems to protect against Russian attacks on critical infrastructure facilities.
The parties also discussed further work on the NATO-Ukraine rapprochement. The relevant council launched at the Vilnius Summit should ensure Ukraine's advance towards the Alliance and practical interaction.
Together with NATO, we are working on the preparation of a new document – an adapted Annual National Program that will define practical steps to ensure that Ukraine complies with the principles and standards of the Alliance, Zelensky said.
Jens Stoltenberg arrived in Kyiv on September 28 to discuss further cooperation and strengthening air defenses for Ukraine.
The Secretary-General added that NATO Allies continue to provide high-end capabilities to help push back the invasion, including modern tanks, sophisticated missile systems, air defenses, and training for F-16 pilots.
This is a collective effort by all NATO Allies, he said, noting that of nearly 100 billion euros in military support committed to Ukraine since last year, around half has come from European NATO Allies and Canada.