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Ukraine's 'rightful place' is in NATO, Stoltenberg says in Kyiv 

20 April, 2023 Thursday
18:17

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg arrived in Kyiv on April 20. He had a meeting with President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy

The president's website reported on the details of the visit.

During the joint conference, Jens Stoltenberg said that Ukraine's place is in NATO, and the Alliance will do everything possible to help our country become a member.

"We must ensure that robust, powerful arrangements are in place for Ukraine’s security. Ukraine’s rightful place is in the Euro-Atlantic family. Ukraine’s rightful place is in NATO. And over time, our support will help to make this possible," Stoltenberg said.

The Secretary General also emphasized NATO's "long-term commitment".

"NATO stands with you today, tomorrow, and for as long as it takes," he said. 

Stoltenberg said that during today's meeting, the parties discussed a long-term support initiative that will help Ukraine transition from Soviet-era equipment and doctrine to NATO standards and ensure full interoperability of the Ukrainian army with NATO forces.

For his part, Zelenskyy thanked Stoltenberg for the invitation to attend the summit in Vilnius and emphasized the importance of the same invitation for Ukraine.

Foto: Reuters

"I am grateful for the invitation to attend the summit, but it is important that Ukraine receives a corresponding invitation. There is no objective barrier that would prevent political decisions to invite Ukraine to join the Alliance. And right now, when the majority of people in NATO countries and the majority of Ukrainians support our country's accession to the Alliance, it is time for the appropriate decisions. It is no longer possible to imagine the security of the Euro-Atlantic area without Ukraine, and people understand this," the President emphasized. 

He also emphasized that NATO membership is a guarantee of security for Ukraine.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy earlier shared the information on Telegram.

"This visit of Jens Stoltenberg is the first since the full-scale war – we interpret it as a sign that the Alliance is ready to start a new chapter in relations with Ukraine – a chapter of ambitious decisions," Zelensky said.

According to the President, they discussed four main issues with the NATO chief.

"The first is Ramstein, the meeting that will take place tomorrow, and the decisions we expect from the partners. First of all, it concerns the armed support of our active actions. Second, I appealed to Mr. Secretary General with a request to help us overcome the reticence of our partners in the supply of some weapons, namely long-range weapons, modern aircraft, artillery, and armored vehicles. The third issue is the Vilnius NATO Summit, which could become historic. I am grateful for the invitation to attend the Summit, but it is important that Ukraine also receives a corresponding invitation. And the fourth is security guarantees for Ukraine, for Ukrainians on the way to NATO," Zelenskyy said.

On the morning of April 20, reports that the NATO chief had arrived in the Ukrainian capital appeared online. This information was confirmed to the German news agency DPA by a NATO spokesman.

Photo: Reuters

The Kyiv Independent was among the first to report Stoltenberg’s visit on Telegram.

The Kyiv Independent was among the first to report Stoltenberg’s visit on Telegram.

"The NATO Secretary-General was seen by a Kyiv Independent journalist on the morning of April 20 paying tribute to fallen Ukrainian soldiers on St Michael's Square in central Kyiv," the statement said.

The day before, the NATO Secretary General visited the Czech Republic. Secretary General Stoltenberg praised the Czech Republic as a valuable ally and thanked President Pavel for the Czech Republic's support for Ukraine in the face of Russia's brutal war of aggression: "Czechia has provided critical military equipment to Ukraine, including tanks, helicopters and air defence missiles. And you host hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees." The leaders also discussed the challenges posed by China.

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