NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to NATO Headquarters on Friday (9 September 2022) for a meeting of the North Atlantic Council to address Russia’s brutal war on Ukraine. Mr Stoltenberg highlighted the unprecedented military, financial and humanitarian aid from NATO Allies to help Ukraine uphold its right to self-defence.
The Secretary General said: “The United States is leading the way. And I welcome the billions of dollars of additional support announced this week. Yesterday I participated in the US-led Ukraine Defence Contact Group in Ramstein. We all agreed on the importance of stepping up and sustaining our military support, so that Ukraine prevails as an independent sovereign state.”
In June, NATO leaders agreed a strengthened package of assistance for Ukraine and Mr Stoltenberg underlined that the Alliance would support Ukraine for the long-term. The Secretary General said the war in Ukraine is entering a critical phase: “In the coming months our unity and solidarity will be tested. With pressure on energy supplies and the soaring cost of living caused by Russia’s war. But the price we pay is measured in money. While the price the Ukrainians are paying is measured in lives. Lost lives, every day. And all of us will pay a much higher price if Russia and other authoritarian regimes see that their aggression is rewarded. If Russia stops fighting, there will be peace. If Ukraine stops fighting, it will cease to exist as an independent nation. So we must stay the course, for Ukraine’s sake and for ours.”
The Secretary General explained how NATO had significantly enhanced its presence in the east of the Alliance, with more troops at higher readiness supported by significant air and naval forces. Mr Stoltenberg said: “All of this makes clear that our commitment to Article 5 is unshakeable. Europe and North America must continue to stand strong together in NATO. In defence of our people, our nations and our values.”
The flags of all 30 NATO Allies are at half-mast to honour Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Secretary General paid tribute to her today: “She was a strong supporter of our transatlantic Alliance, of our armed forces and our values. She knew and worked with all NATO Secretaries General since the founding of NATO. She visited NATO headquarters and hosted NATO leaders at Buckingham Palace. I will always remember her wisdom, her warmth, and her strong personal interest in transatlantic security. Our heartfelt condolences to King Charles III, the Royal Family, and the people of our Allies, the United Kingdom and Canada.”