NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has stated that the Alliance does not need Russia's permission in order Ukraine to join the bloc. He told this in an interview with Associated Press before his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in New York, - European Pravda writes.
"Only Ukraine can determine its own path, whether it wants to join NATO or not", - Stoltenberg said.
"As a result, 29 allies and Ukraine will decide whether Ukraine meets the standards necessary to join NATO", - he added.
Stoltenberg expressed concern in relation to Russia's military intervention in Ukraine and Georgia, Russia's support of the Assad regime in Syria and build-up of Russian naval forces in the East Mediterranean.
At the same time, he called for maintaining a dialogue between NATO and Russia to help defuse the tension while the conflict in Ukraine remains unresolved.
"When we have serious disagreements, when we see increased tension and ever greater military presence near our borders - in fact, it is even more important to have a dialogue", - Jens Stoltenberg stressed.