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NATO Secretary General on Ukraine’s Accession to the Alliance: it is not about “if”, it is about “when”

Special Address to the Kyiv Security Forum 
Jens Stoltenberg, 
NATO Secretary General 
March 21, 2024

Greetings from Brussels and many thanks to Mr. Yatsenyuk, dear Arseniy, for inviting me to speak at this year’s Kyiv Security Forum.

Gatherings like this are truly valuable. They symbolize the strength of democracies, we can express our views frankly and openly, and we can cooperate to chart a better future.

So, I want to congratulate you and your team for organizing this Forum even in these difficult times.

Russia’s war against your country rages on. The toll this is taking on Ukraine, on your citizens and your cities, your infrastructure and your industry is significant.

But you must not be discouraged. You have inflicted heavy losses on the Russian forces. You have successfully pushed back the Russian Black Sea fleet, opening a corridor to export grain and other products.

And two years after a full-scale invasion your country remains free and independent.

That is precisely what Putin wanted to take away from you: to deny you your sovereignty and he failed.  He underestimated your courage, creativity and determination.

He also underestimated the strength and unity of the NATO Alliance and our commitment to supporting you.

NATO Allies have provided more than 99 % of military aid to Ukraine worth tens of billions of dollars, and more in on the way.

Putin also wanted to deny Ukraine the right to choose its own pat and to distance your from your Euro-Atlantic family. But he has achieved the exact opposite.    

Ukraine is now a European Union candidate country and you are closer to NATO as ever before.

I know that Ukraine is paying a high price for this choice, but your determination to continue on this path is truly an inspiration.  

We stand with you. And we will continue to do all we can to support you along the way.

Together we will open a Joint Analysis, Training and Education Center in Poland. And in addition to supporting your immediate needs NATO will be working with Ukraine to contribute to your long-term success.

We are strengthening our political ties through the NATO-Ukraine Council where we consult and make decisions together. And we are helping to make your forces and equipment more interoperable with NATO Allies, in preparation for the day that Ukraine joins the Alliance.

It is not the question of “if”, but of “when”. As you continue on your path toward Euro-Atlantic integration, NATO will continue to stand with Ukraine.

I wish you all continued courage and strength and a very productive Forum. Thank you so much.  

© Arseniy Yatsenyuk Charity Foundation "Open Ukraine"
locationUkraine, Kyiv, 01001
Kyiv Security Forum
Arseniy Yatsenyuk Foundation
© Arseniy Yatsenyuk Charity Foundation "Open Ukraine"