by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd J. Austin
NATO Secretary General :
Secretary Austin, dear Lloyd, it's always a pleasure to see you here at NATO. And thank you so much for your commitment, for the commitment of the United States, to our transatlantic bond, to our transatlantic Alliance. And also thank you for your personal leadership and commitment to our efforts to support Ukraine. I welcome the unprecedented support the United States has delivered to Ukraine but also the unprecedented support that European Allies, Canada, and partners are providing to Ukraine. And I also think it is a very important message that NATO Allies and partners and the Ukraine Defence Contact Group that you chaired, delivered yesterday, that we will stand by Ukraine for as long as it takes. We will step up our support and, in particular, we will provide more air defence systems to Ukraine.
I also welcome the very strong message from the international community yesterday. The vote in the UN was a clear condemnation of the illegal annexation of Ukrainian territories and a clear call on Russian President Putin to reverse these decisions and to respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine. This just shows that we need to stand up for a rules-based international order for our core values. And again, the U.S. leadership in NATO, in the international community, is essential to this. So once again, welcome Lloyd.
US Secretary of Defense :
Good morning, everyone. It's great to be back here in Brussels and Jens, thanks for convening this ministerial, which is focused on working on the issues that we decided on at the Madrid Summit, so very excited to have some great conversations on those issues today.
I absolutely agree with you on your comments on the UN action, and I couldn't put it better. So I think we're absolutely in agreement there. I also agree with you on the fact that we're going to stay with our efforts to support Ukraine for as long as it takes. And you've heard us say that over and over again. The other thing that you've heard us say over and over again is that the United States is absolutely committed to its Article 5 commitments and we are committed to defending every inch of NATO’s territory if and when it comes to that.
I want to applaud all of our Allies and partners who stepped up to provide assistance to Ukraine. You know, Russia is in its eighth month of its unprovoked and unjust invasion of Ukraine. And since it has done that, Allies have continued to step up to provide security assistance. And that just speaks to the quality of this Alliance and the focus of the Alliance members. And so I could not be more proud of the work that's been done. It also speaks to the point that this Alliance is the essential forum for consultation and decision making and action when it comes to security of the region and transatlantic security as well.
So, looking forward to some great discussions today. I also look forward to welcoming Finland and Sweden to the Alliance at some point in the future. And Jens, thanks again for convening the ministerial. I really look forward to some great discussions.