Secretary General in Kyiv: Ukraine is on an “irreversible path” to NATO, support will continue

  • 29 Apr. 2024 -
  • |
  • Last updated: 29 Apr. 2024 21:44

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited Kyiv on Monday (29 April 2024) for talks with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the state of the war and the future of NATO’s support to Ukraine.

Press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine

The Secretary General praised President Zelenskyy’s leadership and the bravery of the Ukrainian forces and people, but acknowledged that “leadership and bravery alone cannot repel the Russian forces; you also need arms and ammunition.” He recognised that serious delays in support have translated to serious consequences on the battlefield. "Ukraine has been outgunned for months... fewer Russian missiles and drones have been shot down, and Russia has been able to push forward on the front line," said Mr Stoltenberg. "But it is not too late for Ukraine to prevail. More support is on the way."

Defence ministers heard President Zelenskyy’s clear appeal at a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council a few days ago, “and they agreed to step up our support,” said Mr Stoltenberg. He welcomed the major new package from the United States, providing over 60 billion dollars’ worth of aid, as well as new commitments by the UK, Germany, and the Netherlands, adding: “I expect further announcements soon.” 

The two leaders addressed preparations for the NATO Summit in July. "Allies have already agreed to plan for a greater NATO role in coordinating security assistance and training for Ukraine," said the Secretary General. “I believe we also need a major, multi-year financial commitment to sustain our support. To demonstrate that our support to Ukraine is not short term and ad hoc, but long term and predictable. Moscow must understand: they cannot win. And they cannot wait us out.” 

On membership, Mr Stoltenberg said: "Ukraine’s rightful place is in NATO. Ukraine will become a member of NATO. The work we are undertaking now puts you on an irreversible path towards NATO membership, so that when the time is right, Ukraine can become a NATO member straightaway."

Later on Monday, Secretary General Stoltenberg delivered an address to the Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian parliament. He underlined the importance of preserving Ukraine’s freedom, adding that Ukraine is fighting to defend the same democratic values present at the heart of NATO.

While in Kyiv, Mr Stoltenberg also visited the National Defence University, greeting members of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. He also met staff from the NATO Representation to Ukraine to thank them for their service and dedication.