by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the International Summit of Cities and Regions in Kyiv, Ukraine

  • 20 Apr. 2023 -
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  • Last updated: 20 Apr. 2023 14:23

(As delivered)

President Zelenskyy, dear Volodymyr,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, thank you Mr President for hosting me here today together with my delegation.
It is really an honour to be back in Kyiv and to meet with you.
We have just finished important meetings where we have discussed how we can continue working closely together.
And it is also an honour for me to be here and to be able to address this International Summit of Cities and Regions.

Mister President, let me first pay tribute to your leadership;
the bravery of your military forces;
and the resilience of the Ukrainian people.

Your fierce fighting to preserve freedom has inspired the whole world.
I also want to express my deepest condolences for every Ukrainian casualty.
It was an honour to lay a wreath at The Wall of Remembrance of the Fallen for Ukraine earlier today.

This is my fourth time to Ukraine as Secretary General of NATO.
And over the years, I have had the privilege of visiting a number of Ukrainian cities. Including of course Kyiv, Lviv, Odesa, Yavoriv, and Uzhhorod.

I am glad to see so many local leaders here today.
And that you have such a forward-looking agenda – focussing on post-war reconstruction, and improving quality of life for the Ukrainian people.
This is another demonstration of your country’s incredible unity and resolve in the face of adversity.

I am also glad to welcome civic leaders from across the Alliance and beyond to this Summit.
From Paris to Utrecht, Tallinn and Tampere,
Ukraine has strong and committed friends all over the world.

NATO is a true friend of Ukraine.
And in your time of need, we are by your side.

After Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, NATO and Allies mobilised major assistance for Ukraine.
Including support for cyber defence; command and control; logistics; medical rehabilitation; and modernising your armed forces.

Critically, NATO Allies have also been training tens of thousands of Ukrainian forces.
I saw the importance of that myself when I visited Ukraine for the first time as Secretary General back in 2015 when I visited the training camp in Yavoriv together with President Poroshenko.

Since last February, NATO Allies have delivered unprecedented military support and also economic and humanitarian support, worth more than 150 billion euros.
This includes 65 billion euros of military aid, which has proven vital in driving the invading Russian forces out of your cities and out of your country.

Allies are now providing more jets, tanks, and armoured vehicles.

All of this support is making a real difference on the battlefield today.

NATO Allies’ support also includes tens of billions of euros in financial and humanitarian aid,
ranging from governmental grants for food, medicine, and demining equipment.

Earlier today, I visited Bucha.
I was deeply moved by what I saw there:
Evidence of horrific atrocities perpetrated against the Ukrainian people.
As we returned to Kyiv, my car drove along roads that pass through minefields.

It was a stark reminder of the challenges that lie ahead and the long road to reconstruction.
But Ukraine will not travel that road alone.
And that is exactly why we are here together today.

At NATO, we are also focused on Ukraine’s post-war needs.
Most important of all, you need to know that Russia will not wage war against you again. 

Building on our existing support, NATO is now working on a multi-year support initiative for Ukraine.
It will help you to transition from Soviet-era equipment and doctrine to NATO equipment and doctrine.
It will ensure full interoperability with the NATO Alliance.
And it will move Ukraine closer to its rightful place in the Euro-Atlantic family.

Ukraine’s future is in NATO. 

Ladies and gentlemen,
Ukraine continues to face a terrible test.
A brutal, unprovoked war of aggression by a revisionist neighbour.

No city or region in this country has been left untouched.
And the effects continue to shake the world.

But Ukraine is not alone.
NATO stands with you.
Allies and partners stand with you, too.

Your determination to fight the aggressor, liberate your land, and work for a brighter future says very clearly to me:
Ukraine will prevail.

President Zelenskyy, thank you very much again for hosting me.

I look forward to welcoming you to NATO’s Vilnius Summit in July.
Thank you so much.