by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on the occasion of receiving the honorary award of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine
Honorable members of the Verkhovna Rada,
Thank you so much, it is really a great honour to receive this honorary award from the Rada and welcome to all of you to the NATO Headquarters.
NATO has supported Ukraine since you regained your independence.
We stepped up our support after Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea.
And we are doing more than ever since Russia launched a full-fledged invasion of aggression against Ukraine almost a year ago.
NATO Allies are providing unprecedented military, financial and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. To support Ukraine’s right to self-defence, a right that is enshrined in the UN Charter.
And NATO is committed to supporting Ukraine for as long as it takes.
I welcome Allies’ announcements of more advanced heavy and weaponry at the meeting of the US-led Ukraine Defence Contact Group in Ramstein last week.
Because to achieve peace tomorrow,
Ukraine urgently needs more weapons today.
NATO is also stepping up our support through the comprehensive assistance package, including fuel, winter clothing and medical supplies.
And we help Ukraine rebuild and recover over the longer term.
By supporting the transition from Soviet-era to modern NATO equipment and standards.
And helping to further strengthen your defence and security institutions.
All of this demonstrates our significant long-term support for Ukraine.
I have had the honour of addressing the Verkhovna Rada twice as Secretary General of NATO.
And my message to you then, as it is now, is clear.
NATO stands by Ukraine.
And we stand by your right to choose your own path.
As a sovereign independent nation within your internationally recognised borders.
I am honoured to accept this award in recognition of NATO’s long-standing support for Ukraine.
But the real recognition should go to you.
The bravery and determination of the Ukrainian people, government, the Rada and armed forces has inspired us all.
As you heroically defend freedom and democracy – our shared values.
So thank you.
And I wish you strength and success. Thank you so much.