Joint media engagement

by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Minister of Defence of Germany, Boris Pistorius at the Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft

  • 20 Jun. 2023 -
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  • Last updated: 20 Jun. 2023 15:30

(As delivered)

Dear Boris and Mr. Erichsen. It's a great honor and pleasure to be here today and I'm really impressed by what I have seen. To be here in Flensburg at the FFG, and to see how the German defence industry really is making a difference for Ukraine every day. 

Because this company is the biggest provider of combat vehicles to Ukraine in Europe. And we know that what you are delivering is actually helping the Ukrainians to save lives and to regain territory. And to push back to the Russian aggression. 

And when I see the competence, the ingenuity, the skills of this industry here in Flensburg, I'm really encouraged and I commend Germany for the big and important contributions you're making in so many different ways, but also by providing the refurbishment, the maintenance, and these different types of vehicles which are so important for Ukraine. 

I thank the German defence industry in general and FFG in particular for what you are doing, but also the German government for financing all these efforts and all this support for Ukraine. 

And we see the different vehicles, the mine [inaudible], we see the beach [inaudible] vehicle, we see the command post vehicle, and I was also told that are different air defence vehicles which are now produced and which are going to be delivered to Ukraine. 

So I'm encouraged and I'm extremely honored to be able to be here and to see this with my own eyes. But it's a huge difference being in different meetings and being in favor of these kinds of support and actually see it myself and to see what this really is about. 

Then I'll just say that the war in Ukraine is now a war of attrition and a war of attrition becomes a war of logistics. So the importance of having a strong defence industry, which is able to provide for the long haul, the equipment, the maintenance, the repair of different types of systems, including these vehicles we see here at FFG, just becomes even more important. 

So if we are going to be prepared for the long haul. If we are going to ensure that President Putin is not able to wait us out, then we have to trust companies like the FFG and the German defence industry. So thank you once again for what you do, both the German government and the German defence industry.


Andreas Schmidt (Norddeutschen Rundfunk): Mr Secretary General, there’s a de-mining vehicle behind you. Doesn’t Ukraine need many more to push forward in the south?

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg: But NATO Allies are now providing more de-mining equipment for Ukraine, and also heavy-armoured de-mining equipment like this. Germany is a key provider, but also other Allies are providing – the United States and other Allies – are providing similar equipment.
And of course, the Ukraine have now launched the offensive, they are gaining ground. It's still early days: We know that Ukrainians face a difficult terrain, they face dug-in Russian resistance, the Russians have been able to establish static, well-prepared defence lines with minefields, with Dragon’s teeth, with tank trenches. But this equipment is exactly the type of equipment Ukrainians need to overcome those well-prepared Russian defensive lines, so therefore I welcome so much support from Germany, but also from other NATO Allies.

Speaker 1: Norwegian Broadcasting. Minister, would you like the Secretary General to stay a little bit longer in his job?

Minister of Defence of Germany Boris Pistorius: It’s not a decision I have to make. It depends on whether the member states will agree to any candidate, which I don't see at the moment. But if we don't see it that way or we don't find a solution, I would really appreciate to prolong my cooperation with Jens. But that depends not on my opinion or my decision.

Speaker 1 (Norwegian Broadcasting): But would you see it as a positive [inaudible]?

Minister of Defence Pistorius: Of course, [such] a decision would be positive if the member states don’t agree to another new candidate.

Speaker 2: I would like to ask how important – sorry, I’m from the Danish Minderheit, minority, paper – how important is the FFG company for you right now? 

Secretary General Stoltenberg: FFG is very important, and Flensburg hosting FFG is making a difference as we speak, because this company – FFG – is the largest provider of combat vehicles for Ukraine. So it's obvious that this is extremely important for Europe, extremely important for Ukraine, because without these vehicles – the infantry fighting vehicles, the modernised and refurbished Leopard-1 battle tanks and the mine clearing vehicles and all the other vehicles we see around there, - of course, the offensive, the advances the Ukrainians are making would not have been possible. And so we are extremely grateful in NATO. I know that Ukrainians are very grateful. And we're grateful both for what Flensburg’s FFG is providing as support to Ukraine, but also grateful for the financial support that enables this, [which] is provided by the German government.