NATO Secretary General addresses first International Defence Industry Forum in Kyiv: there is no defence without industry
Addressing the first meeting of the International Defence Industry Forum in Kyiv on Friday (29 September 2023), NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg paid tribute to the Ukrainian people and armed forces, whose courage and heroism have inspired the world as they continue to push back on Russia’s brutal war of aggression.
“But courage alone does not stop drones, heroism alone cannot intercept missiles. Ukraine needs capabilities, high quality, high quantity, and quickly,” Mr Stoltenberg said, adding that “there is no defence without industry.”
Since Russia’s full-scale invasion last year, many Allies have significantly depleted their stocks in order to support Ukraine. NATO is working through its Defence Production Action Plan to aggregate demand and increase interoperability. The NATO Support and Procurement Agency is overseeing a number of major initiatives, including framework contracts for €2.4 billion worth of key ammunition, including €1 billion of firm orders to cover capabilities such as 155 millimetre artillery, anti-tank guided missiles, and main battle tank ammunition.
The Secretary General praised the resourcefulness of the Ukrainian defence industry, saying: “from drones to de-mining, Ukraine has innovated at lightning speed”. He added that “the stronger Ukraine is on the battlefield, the stronger their position will be at any negotiating table. So while it may sound like a paradox, weapons for Ukraine are the way to peace”.
Major defence companies from across the Alliance attended the Forum, with participants from over 20 countries. NATO was represented by Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment Wendy Gilmour.