Russia has no veto on Ukraine’s NATO membership, says NATO chief

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg

6th June 2023 – (Bratislava) Jens Stoltenberg, the chief of the Western defence alliance NATO, has stated that Russia does not have a veto on Ukraine’s eventual membership in the alliance. Stoltenberg made the statement during his visit to the Slovakia capital, Bratislava, where he held talks with the presidents of the alliance’s eastern flank, the Bucharest Nine group. He added that all NATO allies agree that Ukraine will become a member of the alliance, and that NATO’s door remains open.

NATO was formed almost 75 years ago to face off against the Soviet Union, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year has galvanised the alliance. Stoltenberg said that next month’s NATO summit in Vilnius will see the alliance take “very significant” decisions. He added that NATO will strengthen its support for Ukraine with a multi-year package of assistance to help the country transition from Soviet-era to NATO standards, and bring Ukraine closer to NATO.

Stoltenberg also emphasised the need for a stronger commitment from NATO allies to increase defence investments, with two percent of GDP as a minimum. He also stated that he is “working hard to ensure that we welcome Sweden soon as a full member of this alliance.” Both Sweden and Finland dropped decades of military non-alignment and applied to join NATO after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Finland formally joined NATO in April.