Sergey Ryabkov
© Sputnik / Vladimir AstapkovichFILE PHOTO: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov
Ukraine will never become a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has said, while warning the US-led military bloc against repeating past mistakes.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated last week that "there is no membership issue to be discussed" unless Kiev defeats Moscow on the battlefield. "We need to ensure that Ukraine prevails, that's an absolute minimum for Ukraine to become a member of the alliance," he said.

"This means this will never happen," Ryabkov told TASS news agency on Tuesday. "I hope Mr. Stoltenberg understands this."

The Russian diplomat said Stoltenberg should be aware of what happened after NATO announced at its Bucharest summit in 2008 that Ukraine would eventually become a member.

"This became the trigger for much of the entire crisis that we are observing today. If NATO members are ready to fall into the same trap again and history teaches them nothing, then they will get hit again and their bruises will get worse," he said, reiterating that Ukraine joining NATO is "ruled out."

President Vladimir Putin has warned for nearly two decades that NATO's policies undermine Russian national security. He signaled last week that Moscow could order a ceasefire and start negotiations as soon as Kiev completely withdraws its troops from the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics, and the Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions. However, he stressed that a lasting peace can only be achieved if Ukraine commits to neutral status and abandons plans to join NATO.

Both Kiev and NATO dismissed the offer as an unacceptable "ultimatum," but the head of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Sergey Naryshkin, noted that Ukraine would be better off accepting Putin's offer now. "The next terms under which a ceasefire can be achieved and some kind of peace agreement signed will be tougher with regard to Ukraine," he warned.