NATO chief says Ukraine will join the military alliance, subject to reforms, after the war

Ukraine will become a member of NATO subject to reforms after the war, the military alliance’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said on Monday.

He was speaking ahead of a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels, at which the alliance is expected to reaffirm its support for Ukraine’s defence against Russia’s full-scale invasion.

The two-day session on Tuesday and Wednesday will include the first foreign minister-level meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council.

Alliance leaders created it at their last summit to improve cooperation and coordination and help prepare Kyiv for eventual membership.

Stoltenberg also said Ukraine was still inflicting major losses on Russia, despite Kyiv not managing to regain captured territory.

"Of course, we would like them to liberate as much territory as possible, as quickly as possible, but even though the frontline has not moved, the Ukrainians have been able to inflict heavy losses on the Russian invaders," he said.

He added that some of the most intense fighting of the war has taken place in recent weeks in the east of Ukraine.

Russian forces advance near Avdiivka

The city of Avdiivka in the eastern Donetsk region has become a symbol of the grinding war, with experts saying Russian forces made confirmed advances near the city over the weekend.

Only some 1,300 people still live in the former coal hub, compared to 30,000 before the war.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has slammed Russia for causing massive navigational problems in the Black Sea.

Speaking at a meeting of the International Maritime Organization he said Russia should not be a member.

“No one in recent decades has caused greater harm to free navigation than Russia. It must be held accountable for this,” he said highlighting the negative impact this has had on people globally.

“The food export from Ukraine affects the lives of about 400 million people in different parts of the world, in Africa and Asia,” he said.

“The poorest nations, and those whose social life is stable, but unfortunately at any moment can be hit by chaos due to the food shortage on people’s tables."