Stoltenberg vows Ukraine will join NATO but in 'long-term'
The NATO chief claims that the Russian President "wants to control Ukraine and he is not planning for peace."
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday indicated that Ukraine will become a member of the US-led military alliance in the "long-term".
"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 NATO chief pointed out that "the issue now is that Ukraine prevails as a sovereign independent nation, and therefore we need to support Ukraine."
After the start of the war, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged NATO to grant his country a fast-track membership.
Ukraine applied for EU membership in February 2022 and was granted candidate status in June.
When the war ends, "we need to ensure that history doesn't repeat itself," Stoltenberg told a press conference with Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin.
He said Russian President Vladimir Putin "cannot continue to attack neighbours," claiming that the Russian President "wants to control Ukraine and he is not planning for peace, he is planning for more war."
In the same context, Marin said she believed that "the future of Ukraine is to be part of the European Union and also a member of NATO."
Spooked by the Ukraine war, Finland and Sweden dropped their decades-long policies of military non-alignment and applied to join NATO in May of 2022.
Turkey and Hungary are the only remaining members yet to ratify the Finnish and Swedish bids to join the military alliance.
Stoltenberg considered that "both Finland and Sweden have delivered on what they promised in the trilateral agreement they made with Turkey last June in Madrid."
"The time is now to ratify and to fully welcome Finland and Sweden as members," he added.
One request vs. a long list of conditions— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) June 28, 2022
While #Turkey had a long list of conditions from #Finland and #Sweden, all the two Nordic states wanted was to join #NATO.
Here's your guide to understanding on what basis the agreement was made. pic.twitter.com/Aw7Jtu7frp
Read more: Ukraine expects invitation to join NATO this July: Kiev Speaker
Turkey to continue blocking Sweden's NATO bid: Cavusoglu
However, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday stressed that "it's not possible for us to give consent (to a NATO bid) before Sweden fulfills its commitments."
Cavusoglu made it clear that Turkey looked warmly on Finland's bid, saying, "We may separate Sweden and Finland's membership process."
Turkish President Recept Tayyip Erdogan's main complaint has been with Sweden's refusal to extradite dozens of suspects that Ankara links to Kurdish groups and a 2016 coup attempt.
Rallies attacking the Turkish leadership in Stockholm and the burning of the holy Quran further deepened the rift and raised tensions between Turkey and Sweden.
Despite Turkey's objections to its neighbor's membership bid, Marin said last week that Finland still wants to join NATO with Sweden.
But on February 7, high-level sources revealed that all Finnish parties, bar one, are prepared for their country to access NATO without Sweden.
Read more: NATO’s biggest EU members push Kiev to peace talks over losses - WSJ