NATO chief rules out Ukraine's accession until conflict ends

Combat engineers inspect a damaged Russian tank installed as a symbol of war in central Kyiv, Ukraine, June 15, 2023. [AP Photo]

NATO will not accept Ukraine as a member until the end of the conflict, the bloc's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said.

He made the statement during a public lecture at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, reported the Ukrainian government-run Ukrinform news agency on Friday.

"The fact that the war is in an active stage does not allow us to invite them (Ukrainians) tomorrow or today," said Stoltenberg.

At the same time, Stoltenberg suggested that Ukraine may become a NATO member after the cessation of the hostilities in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

"These are interrelated issues -- NATO membership, ending the war and ensuring lasting peace after the war," he said.

Providing Ukraine with Western-style weapons and training of Ukrainian servicemen is bringing Ukraine closer to NATO membership, he added.

NATO recognized Ukraine as its Enhanced Opportunities Partner in 2020.