NATO cannot accept new members that are currently embroiled in war, Germany's foreign minister said Thursday, as foreign ministers from member nations of the military alliance meet in Oslo.
"NATO's open door policy remains in place, but at the same time it is clear that we cannot talk about accepting new members (who are) in the midst of a war," Annalena Baerbock told reporters ahead of the informal talks.
Her remarks came after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday that his country is ready to join the defense alliance.
Baerbock said the meeting in Oslo is another step ahead of the NATO leaders' summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, scheduled for July, which aims to foster agreement on how to strengthen relations with Kyiv.
Baerbock also said NATO expects to welcome Sweden as a new member at the Vilnius summit. Sweden's application for membership, though supported by most NATO members, has been so far been held up by Turkey and Hungary.
Sweden's membership will be a key topic at the foreign ministers meeting this week, the UK foreign secretary said earlier Thursday.