by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the International Crimea Platform
Thank you so much.
Friends of Ukraine.
Eight years ago, Russia illegally annexed Crimea.
Transforming it into one of the most militarised areas in Europe.
And using it as a launch-pad for the full-scale invasion of Ukraine six months ago.
President Putin thought he could crush the Ukrainian people and armed forces.
He thought he could divide our democratic nations.
And he thought he could dictate what others do.
President Putin was wrong.
The presence of so many friends of Ukraine here today proves this.
Ukraine has suffered six terrible months of war.
But you have also shown your incredible ability to resist brutal aggression.
To strike back, retake territory and impose major costs on Russia.
NATO stands in full solidarity with Ukraine.
Allies fully support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Your right to self-defence.
And to choose your own path.
President Putin started this unjustified war.
He must stop this war.
And withdraw his forces from Ukraine.
NATO has stood with Ukraine since your independence.
We significantly stepped up our support after the illegal annexation of Crimea.
When Russia invaded again, this helped make the Ukrainian armed forces stronger, better trained, and better led than in 2014.
And since February, NATO Allies have provided unprecedented military, financial and humanitarian aid.
NATO is part of the US-led Ukraine Defence Contact Group to mobilise support.
And I actively engage with leaders to urge them to provide more weapons and more ammunition more quickly.
At our Madrid NATO Summit in June, we agreed a strengthened package of assistance.
Including fuel, food, medical supplies, protective military gear, and secure communications.
As well as equipment to counter mines, drones, chemical and biological threats.
And we have over a dozen new projects in preparation for the winter.
At the same time, we have strengthened our presence in the east of the Alliance.
Because NATO’s security guarantees leave no room for miscalculation in Moscow.
And they enable Allies to support Ukraine’s right to self-defence.
We are committed to our partnership with Ukraine for the long term.
We will help Ukraine transition from Soviet-era to NATO-standard equipment.
Continue your defence and security sector reform.
And help you on the path of post-war reconstruction.
Winter is coming.
And it will be hard.
And what we see now is a grinding war of attrition.
This is a battle of wills.
And a battle of logistics.
Therefore, we must sustain our support for Ukraine for the long-term.
So that Ukraine prevails,
as a sovereign independent nation.
A strong, stable and independent Ukraine is essential to Euro-Atlantic security.
NATO has stood with Ukraine throughout three decades of independence.
We stand with Ukraine now.
We will continue to stand with Ukraine.
For as long as it takes.