NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg came to Kyiv on Thursday (April 20) for the first time since Russia launched its full-scale invasion more than one year ago.
Visiting Kyiv, Stoltenberg demonstrates NATO support for Ukraine as the Ukrainian Armed Forces are prepared to launch a counteroffensive.
Jens Stoltenberg paid tribute to Ukrainian servicemen slain in the war and inspected destroyed Russian military equipment exhibited in Kyiv’s central square, as Ukrainian media reported.
Stoltenberg’s unexpected visit comes as Ukrainian officials press the Western military alliance to provide Kyiv with a clearer path to membership.
At a press conference in Brussels on April 3, Jens Stoltenberg said that “NATO’s position remains unchanged and that Ukraine will become a member of the alliance. The first step toward any membership of Ukraine to NATO is to ensure that Ukraine prevails, and that is why the U.S. and its partners have provided unprecedented support for Ukraine.”
In September 2022, Kyiv formally requested “accelerated accession” to NATO, a discussion that is certain to heat up ahead of the alliance’s July Vilnius meeting.
However, while NATO guaranteed Ukraine during its 2008 Bucharest summit that the country would eventually become a member, most NATO partners are hesitant to make tangible commitments to Kyiv as the war with Russia continues.
Jens Stoltenberg stated on February 15 that NATO members had pledged new commitments to support Ukraine with heavy equipment and military training at the meeting of the alliance’s defence ministers.