NATO, not Russia, will decide if Ukraine joins, Stoltenberg says


FILE PHOTO: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gives a press briefing at the end of a NATO Foreign Ministers' meeting at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, March 24, 2021. Olivier Hoslet/Pool via REUTERS

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday that the Western alliance, and not Moscow, would decide whether Ukraine joins in the future.

"It is for the 30 NATO allies to decide when Ukraine is ready for membership. No one else has any right to try to meddle or to interfere in that process," Stoltenberg told a news conference alongside Kyiv's top diplomat.

"Russia is now trying to reestablish some kind of sphere of influence where they try to decide what neighbours can do," Stoltenberg said.

(Reporting by Robin Emmott and Sabine Siebold, Editing by Gabriela Baczynska)

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