Zelensky will attend NATO Summit in Vilnius – NATO secgen

  • 2023-04-21
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has confirmed that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accepted his invitation to attend the NATO summit in Vilnius in July and will take part in it.

"President Zelensky and I have discussed preparations for the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius in July. I have invited him to attend the meeting and I am glad that he has accepted the invitation and will attend NATO summit in Vilnius," Stoltenberg told reporters at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Friday.

Stoltenberg said he highlighted two key issues for Ukraine in the run-up to the Vilnius meeting during his conversation with Zelensky, and they include continuous uninterrupted military support and a program to bring Ukraine's military in line with the existing Western standards.

"One is that I expect NATO allies at the summit to recommit to support Ukraine as long as it takes with substantial military support to ensure that Ukraine prevails. And I also expect NATO allies to agree on a multiyear program to help Ukraine transition from the Soviet era equipment standards and doctrines to the NATO standards and doctrines and to ensure full interoperability of the Ukrainian forces and NATO forces," the NATO secretary general said.

Defense ministers and military representatives from the countries providing military assistance to Ukraine are attending a Ramstein-format meeting organized at the invitation of US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Also attending the meeting, Lithuanian National Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas said in his Facebook post on Friday that it's "a symbolic meeting before Ukraine's imminent and inevitable attack (counterattack – BNS)".

Established in April, 2022, the Ukraine Defense Contact Group is an alliance of 54 countries supporting the defense of Ukraine by sending military equipment. Its previous meeting took place in March.

Lithuania is seeking an invitation for Ukraine to join NATO at the Vilnius Summit.

Stoltenberg said earlier the Alliance's priority would be to ensure that Ukraine prevailed in the war, adding that Ukraine's membership plan would be discussed at the NATO summit in July.