NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Ukraine could become a member of the alliance in the long term.

Ukraine has long been trying to join the US-led alliance. After the invasion of Russia, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wanted to speed up his bid to join NATO. Ukraine also applied for membership in the European Union and received the status of candidate member in June.

“NATO allies agree that Ukraine should become a full member, but at the same time this is a long-term perspective,” Stoltenberg said during a visit to the Finnish capital Helsinki.

“Now the main problem is that Ukraine reigns as a sovereign, independent country.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin regards Ukraine’s desire to join the NATO military alliance, which includes the United States, Canada and 28 European countries, as a threat to the security of his country.

Zelenskiy is pushing for alliance membership to pave the way for quick entry; however, it is not clear whether NATO member states will actually consider Ukraine’s full membership, despite their statements of support.

Speaking at a press conference with Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, Stoltenberg said that once the war is over, “we have to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself.”

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