Secretary General Underlines B9 Countries’ Crucial Role In Strengthening NATO’s Deterrence And Defence

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Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg attended the B9 (Bucharest Nine) Summit in Riga on Tuesday (11 June 2024) to discuss preparations for the NATO Summit, as well as boosting support to Ukraine. The Summit was hosted by Latvian President Edgars Rinkēvičs and co-chaired by Polish President Andrzej Duda and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. 

Mr Stoltenberg emphasised the crucial role B9 countries play in strengthening NATO’s deterrence and defence. “You host our eight multi-national battlegroups; you have increased the readiness of your forces; you lead by example on defence spending; and you are at the forefront of Allied support to Ukraine,” said the Secretary General.

Mr Stoltenberg underlined that there should be no doubt about NATO’s ability to defend against any adversaries. “NATO has the forces, resources, capabilities, and the political will to defend every Ally,” he said. At the NATO Summit in Washington, the Secretary General said he expects Allies to take decisions to further strengthen NATO’s deterrence and defence, and agree on a greater role for NATO in coordinating training and equipment for Ukraine. 

Since Russia’s full-scale invasion in 2022, NATO Allies have provided around 40 billion euros worth of military support to Ukraine each year. “We must maintain this level of support for as long as necessary to ensure fresh funding every year. Credible, long-term support sends a clear message to President Putin that he cannot wait us out,” the Secretary General underlined.

The B9 format was established in the aftermath of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. Nine Allies from the eastern flank take part in this format: Bulgaria, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. Finland and Sweden also took part in the B9 Summit in Riga.

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