Ukraine’s ‘rightful place’ is in Nato — chief

KYIV, Ukraine — North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) chief Jens Stoltenberg defiantly declared Thursday, April 20, 2023, that Ukraine’s “rightful place” is in the military alliance and pledged more support for the country on his first visit to Kyiv since Russia’s invasion just over a year ago.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged Stoltenberg, who has been instrumental in marshaling support from Nato members, to push for even more from them, including warplanes, artillery and armored equipment.

The Kremlin has given various justifications for going to war, but repeated Thursday that preventing Ukraine from joining Nato is still a key goal of its invasion, arguing that Kyiv’s membership in the alliance would pose an existential threat to Russia.

Nato leaders said in 2008 that Ukraine would join the alliance one day, and Stoltenberg has repeated that promise throughout the war, though the organization has established no pathway or timetable for membership.

“Let me be clear, Ukraine’s rightful place is in the Euro-Atlantic family,” Stoltenberg told a news conference. “Ukraine’s rightful place is in Nato.”

Zelenskyy said he was grateful for an invitation to a Nato summit in July in Vilnius, Lithuania, but said his country needs a roadmap for becoming a member. / AP