NATO’s Stoltenberg reaffirms Ukraine to eventually join alliance

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RAMSTEIN, Germany, April 21 (Reuters) – All NATO allies have agreed that Ukraine will eventually become a member of the alliance but the main focus now is to ensure the country prevails against Russia, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday.

Speaking ahead of a meeting of the Ukraine defence contact group at Ramstein air base in Germany, he also told reporters that, once the war in Ukraine ends, Kyiv must have “the deterrence to prevent new attacks”.

In Other Developments


* Germany’s defence minister rejected a quick decision on Ukraine’s membership, saying, “The door is open a crack, but this is not the time to decide now.”

* Ukrainian President Zelenskiy told Stoltenberg on his visit to Kyiv that it was time for NATO to offer his country membership and that Kyiv needed more weapons to fight Russia.

* The Kremlin reiterated that Moscow opposed NATO admitting Ukraine, a former Soviet republic.


* Almost nothing has been done to address Russia’s concerns over the Black Sea grain deal, Foreign Minister Lavrov said, the latest in a series of downbeat comments by top Moscow officials about the pact that enabled Ukraine to resume exports.

* Hungary banned imports of honey and certain meat products from Ukraine, in addition to grains, until June 30, adding to pressure to broaden proposed EU-wide measures. Poland joined in calls for more food imports to be banned including milk.


* The Group of Seven (G7) countries are considering a near-total ban on exports to Russia, Kyodo news agency reported, citing Japanese government sources.

* China is not inflaming the situation in Ukraine, and advocates a peaceful resolution of international disputes through dialogue and diplomacy, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang said.

* Zelenskiy, in a speech to Mexican lawmakers by video, urged Mexico to help make the case in Latin America for his peace plan for Ukraine. Mexico’s government has said it wants to remain neutral in the war.

* French President Macron discussed topics including Ukraine, China and Sudan during a phone call with U.S. President Biden, his office said.

* Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said the city had terminated the Russian Embassy’s deal to lease land in the capital and wanted the property to be returned to the Ukrainian state.


* A Russian warplane accidentally fired a weapon into the city of Belgorod near Ukraine late on Thursday, causing an explosion and damaging buildings, Tass cited the defence ministry as saying.

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