by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the International Defence Industry Forum in Kyiv

  • 29 Sep. 2023 -
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  • Last updated: 29 Sep. 2023 12:54

(As delivered)

President Zelenskyy,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I am honoured to address the first International Defence Industry Forum in Kyiv.

I regret that I could not be with you in person.
But I am glad that my Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment, Wendy Gilmour, is participating in the Forum today.

Let me start by paying tribute to the Ukrainian people and forces.
As you continue to push back on Russia’s brutal war of aggression, your courage and heroism have inspired the world.

But courage alone does not stop drones.
Heroism alone cannot intercept missiles.

Ukraine needs capabilities.
High quality.
High quantity.
And quickly.

There is no defence without industry.

So I am glad to see that major companies from across the Alliance are taking part in the Forum today.

Since Russia’s full-scale invasion last year, many Allies have significantly depleted their stocks in order to support Ukraine.
This was the right thing to do.

But now we need to ramp up production.
Both to meet Ukraine’s needs, and to ensure our own deterrence and defence.

Through our Defence Production Action Plan, NATO is working to aggregate demand, and increase interoperability.
And our Support and Procurement Agency is overseeing a number of major initiatives.

NATO has been conducting joint procurement for many years.
And now we are stepping up even more.


To date, our NATO Support and Procurement Agency has put framework contracts in place for 2.4 billion euros worth of key ammunition, including 1 billion euros of firm orders.
This will cover capabilities including 155 artillery, anti-tank guided missiles, and main battle tank ammunition.

We are also working on standards.
To ensure that more ammunition is interchangeable.

NATO is also prepared to work more closely with the European Union to incentivise greater production in the future.

Throughout the war, the resourcefulness of Ukrainian defence industry has been remarkable.

Relocating sensitive sites to more secure parts of the country.
Launching production of new equipment and spare parts in record time.
And adopting new NATO-standards in the heat of a battle.

From drones to de-mining, Ukraine has innovated at lightning speed.

So we all have much to learn from Ukraine.

In turn, NATO is committed to helping Ukraine modernise its defence industrial sector, and its procurement mechanisms.

This will help to ensure the smoothest, most efficient and transparent processes possible.
And it will help to ensure that Ukraine continues to move forward to full interoperability with NATO.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We need a just and durable peace.
But to reach that goal, we need to strengthen Ukraine’s hand.

The stronger Ukraine is on the battlefield, the stronger their position will be at any negotiating table.

So while it may sound like a paradox, weapons for Ukraine are the way to peace.

And you all have a key role to play.

This spring, I met with Minister Kuleba and High Representative Borrell.
And we agreed on the need to strengthen defence industrial cooperation between Ukraine, NATO and the EU.

Three months ago, I convened in Brussels a first meeting of NATO ministers, together with Ukraine and transatlantic defence industry.

I am encouraged to see you take forward this essential work now.

And I look forward to continuing our engagement at the NATO Industry Forum in Stockholm next month.

I wish you a very successful and productive Forum.

Thank you.