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Stoltenberg Visits Kyiv, Says 'NATO Stands With Ukraine'

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, today, and his very presence in embattled Ukraine sent the message to the people of the country that "NATO stands with Ukraine," he said.

Stoltenberg met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and toured the city, seeing burned out Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers, bombed buildings and the resilience of the Ukrainian people.

Men stand outside and talk; a tank is in the background.
Ukraine Tour
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, right, looks at destroyed Russian tanks, rockets and equipment in central Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, April 20, 2023.
Photo By: NATO photo
VIRIN: 230420-O-B0439-001

"Let me be clear: Ukraine's rightful place is in the Euro-Atlantic family," the secretary general said. "Ukraine's rightful place is in NATO, and over time, our support will help you make this possible."

Stoltenberg praised Zelenskyy's personal leadership and said the courage of Ukraine's armed forces and the resilience of the Ukrainian people have inspired all.

The NATO leader also visited the city of Bucha — the scene of Russian atrocities in the early days of Russian President Vladimir Putin's war of choice against Ukraine. "Russian atrocities continue against the Ukrainian people today, and those responsible must be held to account," he said. 

He told the president that NATO will stand with Ukraine. "We stood by you after Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014," he said. "We stand by you today in your heroic fight against the Russian invaders and in defense of your country. And we will stand by you tomorrow as you rebuild and work toward a brighter future for the Ukrainian people."

Five men stand outside with a church in the background; three hold flower arrangements.
Paying Tribute
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, center, pays tribute to fallen Ukrainian service members at St. Michael‘s Square in central Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, April 20, 2023.
Photo By: NATO photo
VIRIN: 230420-O-B0439-002

NATO allies have provided training for tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers, and since March 2022, they have also delivered more than 150 billion euros in support, including 65 billion euros in military aid. "This has enabled your troops to force Russia out of Kyiv, Kherson and Kharkiv," Stoltenberg said. "The allies are now delivering more jets, tanks and armored vehicles, and NATO's Ukraine Fund is providing urgent support, including medical supplies, mobile satellite systems and pontoon bridges."

Russia could end this unjust war any time it wants. "We do not know when this war will end, but we know that Russian aggression is a toxic pattern that must be stopped," Stoltenberg said. 

The secretary general will travel to Ramstein Air Base, Germany. tomorrow for a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. More than 50 nations will work on how to strengthen Ukraine further. 

"At the meeting in Ramstein tomorrow, I expect that NATO allies and partners will make new announcements of concrete military support to Ukraine, and that, of course, will come on top of the unprecedented support … which has all been delivered," he said.

People sit at a conference table.
Meeting Time
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, center left, meets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, center right, in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, April 20, 2023.
Photo By: NATO photo
VIRIN: 230420-O-B0439-003

Aiding Ukraine is the morally right thing to do, Stoltenberg said. It is also in the best interests of the nations of Europe and the globe. "If President Putin wins, it will make the world more dangerous and us more vulnerable because then the message is that when authoritarian powers, like Russia, like President Putin, uses force, they get what they want. So, it's in the security interest of NATO allies to support Ukraine."

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