Stoltenberg: At first historic meeting of Ukraine-NATO Council at FMs level, we going to discuss support for Ukraine on path to NATO and on battlefield
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says that at the first "historic" meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Council at the level of foreign ministers, allies will talk about supporting Ukraine on the path to membership in the alliance and on the battlefield.
He said this on Wednesday in Brussels before the first meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Council at the level of foreign ministers.
"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," Stoltenberg said.
In addition, the meeting will discuss the issue of urgent needs on the battlefield. "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," the NATO Secretary General said.
Pointing to Ukraine's achievements on the battlefield, Stoltenberg also stated that "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," he said.
In this regard, he recalled the opening of a training center for F-16 pilots in Romania, EUR 2.1 billion from the Netherlands, and the creation of an air defense coalition by 20 allies. "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," Stoltenberg said.
In turn, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also noted that Ukraine's victory is not only in the interests of Ukraine, but also of the entire Euro-Atlantic community. "It not be an exaggeration to say that defending Europe without Ukraine is a task that you cannot do it simply for one simple reason, because we currently have the strongest and the most battle-hardened army in Europe, we are increasing our intercompatibility with NATO, we are pretty much becoming a de facto NATO army," Kuleba said.
In addition, during the meeting, the minister intends to discuss the ability of the defense industry to guarantee the sustainability of the security of the entire Euro-Atlantic space. “The defense industry must increase production,” he noted.