'We'll Never Compromise' on NATO Open-Door Membership Policy, Stoltenberg Says Ahead of Russia Talks

© JOHN THYSNATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gestures as he speaks during a joint press conference with Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration after their bilateral meeting at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on January 10, 2022.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gestures as he speaks during a joint press conference with Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration after their bilateral meeting at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on January 10, 2022.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.01.2022
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Earlier, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that forthcoming talks between Russia and the US on strategic stability should generally be about the impossibility of Ukraine joining NATO.
NATO will never compromise on its open-door membership policy, the organisation's head Jens Stoltenberg said during a joint press conference with Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba ahead of the NATO-Ukraine Commission meeting in Brussels on Monday.
Stoltenberg added that the bloc will help Ukraine to move towards membership of the alliance. He emphasized that there will be "severe costs" for Russia should it invade Ukraine.
He also said that this week's security negotiations with Russia may not resolve all issues at once but still could provide a pathway to avoid conflict.

"It is possible to make deals with Russia...What we are hoping for is that we can agree on a way forward, that we can agree on a series of meetings, that we can agree on a process," Stoltenberg said, quoted by Reuters.
Russian soldiers stand near a Topol-M ICBM while participating in a rehearsal for the nation's Victory Day parade outside Moscow in Alabino on April 22, 2008 - Sputnik International, 1920, 31.12.2021
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Stoltenberg's statements come as delegations from Russia and the US have started talks on security guarantees in Geneva. Earlier, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that although Moscow was ready to hear Washington's position regarding the non-deployment of missiles on Ukraine's territory, the dialogue would only be effective if the decision of the Budapest summit on Ukraine's possible NATO membership were revised.
Last month, Moscow presented its draft proposals on security guarantees for Russia, the US and NATO. One of the proposals suggests that NATO should end its eastward expansion and demanded that Ukraine be prevented from joining the alliance.
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