Brussels: Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte was appointed as the next chief of the transatlantic military alliance NATO on Wednesday, a development that comes during a critical time for European security amid Russia's war in Ukraine, Al Jazeera reported.

Ambassadors from the alliance's 32 members took the decision at a meeting at the NATO headquarters in Brussels.

Rutte was appointed after his only rival for the post, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, quit the race last week after he failed to gain traction.

Bowing out of Dutch politics after nearly 14 years as PM, Rutte will take over from Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on October 1, NATO said in a statement.

Rutte gained early support from key members of the alliance, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany, after declaring his interest in the post last year.

Following his appointment, Rutte called it a "tremendous honour" and described NATO as a "cornerstone of our collective security", in a post on X.

Other countries, particularly those in Eastern Europe, had argued the job should go to someone from their region for the first time, but they eventually supported Rutte, as reported by Al Jazeera.

Hungary lifted its objections earlier this month, after Rutte agreed that Budapest would not be obligated in the future to send personnel or provide funds for a new support plan for Ukraine. Turkey had also voiced opposition to Rutte's bid but relented in April.

Notably, NATO takes decisions by consensus so Rutte, could only be confirmed once being backed by all the alliance members.

Stoltenberg, who led NATO for a decade, said he welcomed the selection of Rutte as his successor.

"Mark is a true transatlanticist, a strong leader, and a consensus-builder," he said. "I know I am leaving NATO in good hands."

Stoltenberg, a former Norwegian PM, took over the alliance's leadership in 2014, a few months after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was confident that the incoming chief will keep NATO "strong and united, as we work to strengthen our collective defence and support Ukraine's fight for freedom".

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised Rutte as a "principled and strong leader, who has demonstrated his decisiveness and vision on many occasions over the past years".

Rutte will face the challenge of sustaining allies' support for Ukraine's fight against Russia's invasion while guarding against NATO being drawn directly into a war with Moscow, according to Al Jazeera.

Notably, Rutte has been a tough critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and a staunch ally of Ukraine.

However, the Kremlin said the appointment will not "change anything".

He will also have to contend with the possibility that NATO-sceptic former US President Donald Trump may return to the White House after November's election

Trump's possible return has unnerved NATO leaders, as the former President had called into question the US willingness to support other members of the alliance if they were attacked.

(With Inputs From Agencies)