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Preventing Ukraine from joining NATO still key goal of conflict: Russia

The Kremlin on Thursday said that preventing Ukraine’s accession to NATO remains one of the key goals of its “special military operation,” meaning its war on Ukraine, now into its 14th month.

“Otherwise it would pose a serious, significant threat to the security of our country,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed at a press briefing.

Western analysts say that when Russia launched the war in February 2022, Ukraine was not at all close to joining the alliance. Last September, it formally applied for NATO membership, though it is not clear when or if it would ever be admitted.

Peskov also touched on NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s visit to Kyiv, saying that the Kremlin has no assessments on prospects for Ukraine’s entry into NATO.

Earlier Thursday, Stoltenberg arrived in Kyiv on an unannounced visit, said Oleksiy Goncharenko, a member of Ukraine’s parliament.

The visit is Stoltenberg’s first to the country since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war in February last year.

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