by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the opening session of the B9 Summit
Thank you so much, President Čaputová, dear Zuzana,
Dear Presidents, Excellencies,
It’s really a big honour, a great honour, for me to join you once again at the ninth meeting. This is an important platform, an important forum also to address issues which are extremely important for NATO.
President Putin’s unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine has changed our security environment for the long-term. Russia has shattered peace in Europe.
The destruction of the Kakhovka dam today puts thousands of civilians at risk and causes severe environmental damage. This is an outrageous act which demonstrates once again the brutality of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The decisions we take at the NATO Summit in Vilnius this July will be very significant.
We will strengthen our support for Ukraine with a multi-year package of assistance to help them transition from Soviet-era to NATO standards, and bring Ukraine closer to NATO.
All Allies agree that NATO’s door remains open, that Ukraine will become a member of the Alliance, and that Russia does not have a veto.
At Vilnius, we will also further strengthen our deterrence and defence. We will commit to new defence plans and a new NATO Force Model, with more troops at higher readiness and stronger NATO command and control.
We must also agree a stronger commitment to increased defence investments, with two percent of GDP as a minimum.
As we prepare for the Vilnius Summit, I am also working hard to ensure that we welcome Sweden soon as a full member of this Alliance.
So, once again, thank you so much. I look forward to our discussions.