Boris Johnson says there is "no way Ukraine is going to join NATO any time soon" as Ukraine's leader said peace talks with Russia had taken a "realistic turn".
The Prime Minister, who is visiting the Gulf as he tries to wean the West off Russian energy, said he understood the "reality of the position" expressed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during an address to London.
The Ukrainian leader expressed his frustration yesterday that Ukraine had not been allowed to join NATO, but said: "This is the truth and we have simply to accept it as it is."
Mr Johnson, speaking on Wednesday, said: "I talked to Volodymyr [Zelensky] again yesterday and, of course, I understand what he is saying about NATO and the reality of the position.
"And everybody has always said – and we've made it clear to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin – that there is no way Ukraine is going to join NATO any time soon.
"The most important thing is that Putin's aggression, his absolutely barbaric attacks on Ukraine should stop, and they should not be seen to have succeeded, and they won't succeed," the Prime Minister added.
Mr Zelensky, since addressing the London summit, has suggested peace talks between the Ukrainian and Russian delegations had started to produce hope of a ceasefire.
In his nightly video address to the nation on Wednesday, the president said Russia's demands were becoming "more realistic".
The two sides were expected to speak again on Wednesday.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss appeared less optimistic in her assessment of the conflict, saying she feared "we are not near the end, at this stage".
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine - 16 March 2022— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) March 16, 2022
Find out more about the UK government's response: https://t.co/I8svQhu5Y7
🇺🇦 #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/BRfAGjiwwX
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has said Ukraine was continuing to have success in "stalling Russia's advance", with the Kremlin's forces also "struggling to overcome the challenges posed by Ukraine's terrain".
There has also been a "failure to gain control of the air", the department said, in its latest defence intelligence update.
"The tactics of the Ukrainian armed forces have adeptly exploited Russia's lack of manoeuvre, frustrating the Russian advance and inflicting heavy losses on the invading forces," the MOD tweeted.