German Chancellor Olaf Scholz met with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Berlin on Monday.
The talks focused on the upcoming NATO summit, scheduled to take place on July 11-12 in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius.
The summit will largely be focused on the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine.
Ukrainian officials have repeatedly said they expect a signal of readiness to subsequently accept Ukraine as a member of the alliance. However, the NATO countries have not agreed on an official invitation to Ukraine to join.
No formal invitation for Ukraine in Vilnius
In Berlin, Stoltenberg confirmed that the NATO summit would not result in a formal invitation for Ukraine to join the alliance.
"At the Vilnius summit and in the preparations for the summit, we are not discussing to issue a formal invitation," he told reporters after meeting Scholz. He added, however, that leaders would talk about how to move Ukraine closer to NATO.
At the same time, Stoltenberg warned against accepting a frozen conflict in Ukraine in return for an end to the war. "We all want this war to end, but a just peace cannot mean freezing the conflict and accepting a deal dictated by Russia," he said.
Meanwhile, Scholz said that Germany is prepared for the possibility that the war in Ukraine could still last for a while. "We are preparing for that and adjusting our policies based on that," he said, adding that Germany would continue to support Ukraine for as long as necessary.
What else is on the agenda of the Vilnius summit?
Stoltenberg earlier said he expected leaders at the NATO summit to agree on a pledge to spend at least 2% of GDP on defense in the future.
A decision to extend Stoltenberg's term in office until the NATO anniversary summit in July 2024 in Washington is also likely to be made in Vilnius. The German government and other member states have already spoken out in favor of the 64-year-old Norwegian remaining in office.
Last week, Stoltenberg was in the US for talks with US President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
dh/nm (AFP, dpa)