by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba
So, Foreign Minister Kuleba, dear Dmytro,
Welcome to NATO.
It’s always a great pleasure to have you here. And especially today, when we are going to have an historic meeting, the first meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council at foreign ministers level.
This meeting demonstrates that Ukraine is moving closer and closer to NATO. At the meeting we will discuss how we can support your path towards NATO membership.
All Allies agree that Ukraine will become a member of the Alliance. And we need now to discuss the path forward, the reform efforts and how NATO can support you in implementing those reforms.
Then we will also address the urgent needs, the situation on the battlefield. And let me reiterate my strong admiration for the Ukrainian armed forces, for the political leadership, for the people of Ukraine, the courage you have demonstrated since the full-scale invasion. And the fact that you have been able to push back the Russian forces from the north, in the east and in the south. And also inflicted heavy losses on the Russian invaders. These are big wins for Ukraine and it’s a result of your strong determination to defend your country and your territorial integrity.
We should not underestimate Russia. We see intense fighting and we have to be prepared for new air and missile strikes. So therefore it is important that our solidarity with Ukraine is not only demonstrated in words but also in deeds.
I welcome the recent announcement by Germany to add 8 billion extra for support, military support to Ukraine; 2 and a half billion euros from the Netherlands; twenty Allies have established a coalition for air defence. And in Romania Allies have established a training centre for F-16 pilots. These are concrete actions so we need more of them. And we need sustained and stepped up support for Ukraine.
Because it is in Ukraine’s interest but also in our own security interest that Ukraine prevails, that you are able to push back the Russian forces and prevail as a sovereign, independent nation in Europe.
So once again, Dmytro, it’s a pleasure to meet with you, to have you here. And to be able to sit down and discuss how we can stand together in the fight against Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.