NATO does not need Russia's permission for Ukraine to join alliance – Stoltenberg

NATO does not need Russia's permission for Ukraine to join alliance – Stoltenberg

NATO will not be seeking Russia’s permission for Kyiv to join the alliance.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this in an interview with The Associated Press before the meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in New York.

“It’s for Ukraine to decide its own path, whether they want to join NATO or not. At the end of the day it will be 29 allies and Ukraine that decides whether Ukraine is ready to meet the standards of joining NATO,” he said.

Stoltenberg expressed concern about Russia’s military interference in Ukraine and Georgia, support for Syria’s Bashar Assad, and the buildup of Russia’s naval forces in the eastern Mediterranean.

At the same time, Stoltenberg called for maintaining a dialogue between NATO and Russia to help defuse tensions as long as conflicts like that in Ukraine remain unresolved.

“When we have serious disagreements, when we see increased tensions, when we see more military presence close to our borders, it’s actually even more important to have dialogue,” Stoltenberg said in an interview.

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