Secretary General joins B9 leaders to prepare for NATO’s Vilnius Summit

  • 06 Jun. 2023 -
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  • Last updated: 06 Jun. 2023 17:54

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg attended the Bucharest Nine (B9) Summit of Heads of State meeting in Bratislava on Tuesday (6 June 2023), to prepare the Vilnius Summit in July.

Remarks by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the B9 Summit

"President Putin’s unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine has changed our security environment for the long-term. Russia has shattered peace in Europe," said the Secretary General. "The destruction of the Kakhovka dam today puts thousands of civilians at risk and causes severe environmental damage. This is an outrageous act which demonstrates once again the brutality of Russia’s war in Ukraine."

Mr Stoltenberg outlined key priorities for the NATO Summit in Vilnius, including a multi-year package of assistance for Ukraine; strengthened deterrence and defence; and a stronger commitment to increased defence investments, with two percent of GDP as a minimum. “I am also working hard to ensure that we welcome Sweden soon as a full member of this Alliance”, he said.

The B9 format brings together Bulgaria, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia, and was established in the aftermath of Russia’s first invasion of Ukraine in 2014.

Meeting with Slovakian Prime Minister Ľudovít Ódor following the B9 Summit, Mr Stoltenberg thanked him for Slovakia’s contributions to NATO, including its commitment to invest 2% of GDP in defence this year. The Secretary General also underlined that “Slovakia can rely on NATO,” noting that Alliance planes patrol Slovakia’s skies, and that the country hosts a NATO multinational battlegroup to deter any aggression. “You are part of a family of 31 democracies from Europe and North America where all decisions are taken by consensus, and we all protect each other. All for one, and one for all," he said.