NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg previewed the issues that NATO Defence Ministers will discuss over the next two days in Brussels, including support for Ukraine, strengthened deterrence and defence, NATO operations and missions, and the situation in the Middle East.
Stoltenberg was joined by Ukrainian President Zelenskyy who is at NATO Headquarters to take part in the US-led Ukraine Defence Contact Group meeting, alongside more than 50 countries.
The Secretary General told President Zelenskyy that “your fight is our fight, your security is our security, and your values are our values. And we will stand by Ukraine for as long as it takes”. He indicated that “we will further strengthen our relationship and help Ukraine move towards NATO membership”.
Allied Defence Ministers will meet with their Ukrainian counterpart, Minister Umerov, in the NATO-Ukraine Council this afternoon to discuss the situation in Ukraine and NATO’s continued support.
Tomorrow’s (Thursday 12 October 2023) discussions will focus on deterrence and defence. Ministers will take stock of the work underway to resource and exercise the robust defence plans that Allied leaders agreed at the Vilnius Summit. They will also address NATO’s missions and operations, including in Kosovo and in Iraq, and discuss the recent damage to undersea infrastructure between Estonia and Finland. Regarding this incident, the Secretary General said that “the important thing now is to establish what happened and how this could happen. If it is proven to be a deliberate attack on NATO critical infrastructure, then this will be of course serious, but it will also be met by a united and determined response from NATO”.
Defence Ministers will also discuss the situation in the Middle East in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks by Hamas against NATO partner Israel. Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant will brief NATO Allies on Israel’s response.