by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the “CEO’s for Ukraine” panel discussion at the World Economic Forum

  • 16 Jan. 2024 -
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  • Last updated: 16 Jan. 2024 16:42

(As delivered)

NATO Secretary General 
…to see you again. We just had breakfast, you were able to arrive here much faster than I did, I don't know what you did, but we are together here –

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine
–[inaudible] willing to work.

NATO Secretary General 
Yeah. So that's the good news.

And actually, that's my main message.

Because the reality is that, of course, there are reasons to be concerned, the big Spring Offensive didn't give the results we all hoped for.
This summer, we see how Russia launches new attacks on Ukraine, we see how Russia is getting more weapons, acquiring drones from Iran, missiles from North Korea, and how they're building up their military forces.

So the situation on the ground in Ukraine is challenging, is difficulty –is difficult.
But despite these difficulties, there are reasons for optimism.
And I'll just briefly share that with you now.

First, you have to remember where we started, when this war started, most experts also in our capitals, believed that Kyiv would fall within days and Ukraine within weeks, that did not happen, because of the courage, because of the determination of the Ukrainian leadership, of the Ukrainian people.

But also, of course, because of the support from NATO Allies.

The Ukrainians have been able to liberate 50% of the territory that Russia occupied at the beginning of the war, they have opened up a corridor in the Black Sea, able to export out the grain and other stuff.
And they shot down an advanced plane just yesterday.
So they have capabilities, they have proven the skills to use those capabilities.

And that's a big win for Ukraine. Perhaps the biggest win is that Ukraine has survived as an independent sovereign democratic nation in Europe, a big win for Ukraine and a big loss for Russia.

President Putin has not achieved what he aimed for.
And that was to control Ukraine, he doesn't control Ukraine, he has paid a big price, lost 300,000 soldiers, casualties, thousands of armoured vehicles, hundreds of planes.
But most importantly, he has lost that possibility of ever controlling Ukraine, because Ukrainian people have turned away from Russia.

They want to join Europe, EU, NATO, and which I can speak more about in a moment [inaudible].
But anyway, the thing is that Ukraine is now closer to NATO and EU than ever before, they become a member of NATO.
And I think you said that they will become a member of the EU.

So this is the big win for us, our responsibilities that we need, of course, to continue to deliver the weapons.
And I will just tell you that we have a responsibility as political leaders, but also as CEOs, as business people and a citizen of countries to ensure that the political will remains in our countries to sustain the support for Ukraine, we are not allowed to say that we are tired, because we pay a price which we measure in kroner and dollars and euros while Ukrainians, they pay a price measured in lost lives.

So therefore –and this is as Senator Coons said, this is not charity.
This is our security interest to invest in the Defence of Ukraine.
So I'm an optimist, and therefore it's great to see you but we need everyone to mobilise and support Ukraine.
Thank you.