by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council in Defence Ministers’ Session, together with the Defence Minister of Sweden
So welcome to all of you to this first meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council at the level of Defence Ministers.
Minister Umerov, welcome to you.
We met in Kyiv last week.
It's now great to welcome you here to NATO Headquarters, to the NATO-Ukraine Council.
And congratulations once again on your appointment as Minister for Defence.
It is great to have you here with us and it was an honour to receive President Zelenskyy here at NATO earlier today.
Today, we will discuss the situation in Ukraine and NATO's continued support now and in the long term.
The counter-offensive is progressing.
It was never going to be easy.
The battlefield is heavily mined; the Russians have dug in for months.
But the Ukrainians are moving forward. They are regaining ground and Russia is losing ground.
Ukraine can count on NATO's continued support to prevail as an independent democratic state and to integrate into the Euro-Atlantic family, where Ukraine rightfully belongs.
We will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.
This concludes the public part of the meeting. I thank the media for joining us at the top of the meeting and we'll continue in just a moment. So thank you so much.