NATO must take lead in organizing support for Ukraine - Stoltenberg

  • 2024-06-12
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - NATO should play the leading role in organizing support to Ukraine, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stressed at a press conference which concluded the NATO Eastern Flank Summit on Tuesday.

He noted that the Bucharest Nine meeting focused a lot on the upcoming Alliance Summit in Washington, DC, and how to intensify NATO support to Ukraine in the future.

The NATO Secretary General pointed out that the Bucharest Nine plays an important role in the implementation of NATO's deterrence and defense policy. Nine enhanced presence battle groups are based in these countries. The Bucharest Nine also participates in various other deterrence and defense activities and provide long-term support to Ukraine.

Stoltenberg pointed out that since 2019, Ukraine has significantly reinforced NATO's collective defense system, with the most detailed defense plans in place since the beginning of the Cold War. A rapid reaction force has also been provided, which can be supported both from the air and from the sea. Defense spending has been increased in all allied countries.

"There is no doubt that we are ready to defend ourselves, to prevent any attack from our enemies. We have the resources, the capabilities and the expertise, as well as the political will, to defend all members of the Alliance," said the NATO Secretary General.

He said that NATO Member States are expected to take decisions at the Washington Summit to further strengthen deterrence and defense policies, and to take a leading role in organizing NATO support to Ukraine. It is also expected that a long-term financial support plan for Ukraine will be endorsed.

"Since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the Allies have provided EUR 40 billion a year in military support. This level of support must be maintained for as long as possible. Long-term support to Ukraine will send a clear message to [regime leader] Putin that he cannot simply wait for this support to run out," Stoltenberg said.

As reported, on Tuesday, for the first time, a summit of NATO Eastern Flank countries was held in Riga, bringing together the so-called Bucharest Nine, which was established in 2015 as a platform for discussions between representatives of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.