NATO leadership committed Tuesday to adding Ukraine to the alliance in the future and continuing to support the country’s defense against Russia.
Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance’s “door is open” and pushed back on Russia’s attempt to keep countries in Eastern and Northern Europe from joining. However, he added that the alliance wouldn’t move to add Ukraine until the ongoing war against Russia is over, due to fears of splintering the alliance.
Russia-Ukraine war: November 29 updates ⤵️
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg reaffirmed the alliance’s commitment to Ukraine, saying they will one day become a NATO member.
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) November 29, 2022
“President Putin cannot deny sovereign nations to make their own sovereign decisions that are not a threat to Russia,” Stoltenberg said. “We are in the midst of a war and therefore we should do nothing that can undermine the unity of allies to provide military, humanitarian, financial support to Ukraine, because we must prevent President Putin from winning.”
Stoltenberg also spoke to NATO’s recent additions and future plans for other new members during the alliance’s meetings in Romania. He referenced the addition of both North Macedonia and Montenegro, whose accession Russia vehemently opposed, as well as plans to add Sweden and Finland in the near future.
Hungary and Turkey stand as the only roadblocks to adding the two Scandinavian countries, who applied for membership earlier this year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, to the alliance. Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said he believes his country is making good progress toward meeting Turkey’s demands for membership.
A rogue missile hitting Polish territory and killing two civilians earlier in November stoked fears that NATO would become embroiled in a broader conflict with Russia. However, it was later determined that the missile was a Ukrainian defensive projectile launched at incoming Russian rockets, preventing the invocation of Article 5 of the NATO treaty that requires mutual defense. (RELATED: NATO’s Response To Errant Missile Strike In Poland Averted Catastrophic WWIII Scenario, Experts Say)
Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Romania meeting with other NATO foreign ministers. He will announce additional aid to bolster Ukraine’s power grid ahead of a likely attempt by Russia to weaponize energy shortages during the winter, U.S. officials said.