Zelensky: Ukraine will join NATO only after defeating Russia

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Ukraine would join NATO only after defeating Russia's full-scale invasion, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on April 29 during a Q&A session at the National Defense University in Kyiv.

Zelensky and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg met students undergoing professional military training in compliance with NATO standards and answered their questions on the Ukrainian-NATO cooperation and strengthening of Ukraine's air defense.

The meeting was held on the same day Stoltenberg came to Kyiv with an announced visit.

"When we invite a country to join the alliance, we need not just a majority, but the perfect agreement between all 32 members," Stoltenberg said, adding that a consensus about the path toward Ukraine's membership has not been reached yet, but the alliance is "currently working on it."

The secretary-general said that the alliance also aims to help Ukraine get as close as possible to NATO standards as part of its integration process, adding that there is "a lot of work ahead."

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"At the same time, we need to make you as interoperable as possible. And integrate you as much as we can," he said.

Zelensky, in turn, noted that Ukraine will join NATO only after Russia's full-scale invasion ends. The president hopes that Ukraine's victory against Russia will help to reach a perfect agreement among all NATO member states.

While the parties were discussing the bolstering of Ukraine's air defense, the president thanked Western partners for the provision of much-needed modern air defense systems, as well as other military equipment.

Zelensky added that Ukrainian forces still face "completely different" threats in the sky, and the struggle with the supply shortages continues.

"I am confident that we will have modern aircraft that will also be a part of this system," Zelensky added.

Read also: Russian strikes overwhelm Ukraine’s overstretched air defense amid Western aid delays

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