Stoltenberg visit to Kiev: “Ukraine’s rightful place is in NATO”

Status: 04/20/2023 5:12 p.m

During his surprise visit to Kiev, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg promised Ukraine further support – including for joining the alliance. Russia stressed that it wanted to prevent exactly that with its invasion.

During his visit to Kiev, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg promised Ukraine further support in its efforts to join the military alliance. “Ukraine’s rightful place is in NATO,” he said at a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. With the support of the alliance, she will be able to take it over time.

NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg visits Ukraine

Tagesschau 5:00 p.m., April 20, 2023

Stoltenberg referred to a support program announced in early April for Ukraine’s planned NATO membership. The multi-year initiative is intended to make it easier for the country to adapt to alliance standards and to enable seamless cooperation with the alliance. It is “proof of NATO’s long-term commitment in Ukraine,” said Stoltenberg.

He assured the country of the military alliance’s help “for as long as necessary”. “We don’t know when this war will end, but we do know that Russian aggression is a toxic pattern of behavior that must be stopped,” Stoltenberg said. Therefore, the Ukrainian armed forces must be further strengthened and it must be ensured that there are robust and powerful safeguards for Ukraine’s security.

According to Stoltenberg, the NATO countries have provided more than 150 billion euros in aid since the beginning of the war.

Selenskyj pressed for an invitation

So far, there is no precise timeline for Ukraine’s accession. President Zelenskyy said it was time for NATO to make the political decision to invite his country to join. Ukraine wants to know when it can become a member. He is grateful to be invited to the NATO summit in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius in July, which could become “historic”. “But it is also important for Ukraine to receive a corresponding invitation.”

The Kremlin, meanwhile, reiterated that one of the main goals of the Russian invasion remains to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO. Otherwise, this is a “serious, significant threat to the security of our country,” said Presidential Office spokesman Dmitry Peskov in a conference call with journalists.

Susanne Petersohn, ARD Kiev, on the “surprise visit” of NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg in Kiev

tagesschau24 1:00 p.m., April 20, 2023

Visit also in Bucha

The NATO Secretary General had unexpectedly arrived in the Ukrainian capital in the morning. Ukrainian media and the Reuters news agency published pictures showing Stoltenberg on a square in Kiev. There, according to Reuters, he laid a wreath in honor of Ukrainian soldiers killed in fighting in the east of the country and looked at captured Russian armored vehicles on Michaelsplatz.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg visits a memorial wall honoring killed Ukrainian soldiers in Kiev, Ukraine.


According to NATO, during his visit Stoltenberg also visited the Kiev suburb of Bucha, which was occupied by Russian troops in spring 2022 and where the bodies of hundreds of civilians were later found.

First visit since the beginning of the war

Presumably directly from Ukraine, Stoltenberg will travel to a meeting of the international contact group for the coordination of military aid to Ukraine. This will be organized this Friday at the US air force base in Ramstein, Rhineland-Palatinate.

Stoltenberg had visited the Ukrainian capital before the war, but has not been there since the war began in late February 2022. The NATO Secretary General has been instrumental in organizing support for Ukraine from the 31 member countries of the alliance since Finland joined, and continues to promote arms supplies to the attacked country. Ukraine had applied to join the alliance.

NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg in Kyiv

Frederik Rother, ARD Kiev, April 20, 2023 2:04 p.m

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