#NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg following the Informal meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Prague, may 31 :

We have just concluded a productive meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers.

Our discussions focused on our support for Ukraine.

We all want to stop this war. But the paradox is that the better we prepare for the long haul, the sooner the war can end. Russia must understand that it cannot wait us out.

No final decisions were made today, but we made significant progress on three issues.

First, NATO’s plans to play a greater coordinating role in the provision of equipment and training.

Practically all military aid to Ukraine – 99 percent – comes from NATO Allies.
So, it makes sense that NATO should play a greater role in these efforts.

This will enable us to use the NATO structures to put our support on a firmer footing,
provide more predictability to Kyiv, and address both immediate and longer-term needs.

Secondly, I have proposed that Allies commit to a multi-year financial pledge for Ukraine. Since Russia’s full-scale invasion in 2022, Allies have provided approximately 40 billion euros worth of military support to Ukraine each year.

We must maintain at least this level of support each year, for as long as necessary.

I have also proposed that Allies should share this burden equitably. This will improve accountability, and give Ukraine the predictability they need to plan for the long term. 

Finally, we discussed Ukraine’s path to NATO membership. Allies agree that Ukraine’s future is in NATO. And we are determined to make progress in charting this path.  Membership will be Ukraine’s ultimate security guarantee. It will ensure a lasting peace;
And provide the stability needed for reconstruction.

Let me add this on Allied support and the question of escalation.

Russia started this war. They annexed Crimea in 2014. And in 2022, Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began the bloodiest conflict in Europe since World War 2.

Russia is striking hospitals, schools, and shopping malls. Russia is bombing power and water infrastructure. Russia is killing Ukrainian civilians.

Ukraine is defending itself from appalling Russian brutality.

So, let me be clear. Self-defence is not escalation. Self-defence is a fundamental right. It is enshrined in the UN Charter. Ukraine has the right, and the responsibility, to protect its people. And we have the right to help Ukraine uphold its right to self-defence.

Of course, Russia does not like this. At every stage of this war Russia has complained, threatened and sabre-rattled.

Putin wanted to deter NATO Allies from supporting Ukraine. But we are not and we will not be deterred.

Russia is the one attacking. Russia is the one escalating. Most recently by opening a new front in the Kharkiv region. And with waves of new strikes on Ukrainian citizens.

As the war has evolved, our support has evolved. And it will continue to evolve.

I welcome that Allies are providing many different types of assistance. And at the NATO Summit, we will put NATO’s support on a firmer footing for the long haul. 


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