On Friday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance will assist Ukraine in defending itself against Russia for “as long as it takes” and will assist the war-torn country in transforming its armed forces into a modern army to Western standards.
Speaking to reporters ahead of a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Romania next week, Stoltenberg urged countries to continue providing air defence systems and other weapons to Ukraine, either individually or in groups. However, NATO does not supply weapons as an organisation.
“NATO will remain in Ukraine for as long as it is necessary. We will not give up, Allies are providing unprecedented military support and I expect foreign ministers to agree to increase non-lethal assistance as well,” the former Norwegian prime minister Stoltenberg said.
Stoltenberg further said that members of the 30-nation security organisation have been delivering fuel, generators, medical supplies, winter equipment and drone jamming devices, but more will be required as winter approaches, particularly as Russia attacks Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.
“At our meeting in Bucharest, I will call for more, over the longer term we will help Ukraine transition from Soviet-era equipment to modern NATO standards, doctrine and training,” he said.
According to him, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba would join the ministers to discuss his country's most pressing needs and also what kind of long-term support NATO can provide. NATO's top civilian official said the support will help Ukraine move toward joining the alliance one day.
The 29-30 November meeting in Bucharest is being held almost 15 years after NATO promised that Ukraine and Georgia would one day become members of the organisation, a pledge that deeply angered Russia.
The foreign ministers of Bosnia, Georgia and Moldova will also attend the meeting - three partners that NATO says are coming under increasing Russian pressure. Stoltenberg said the meeting would see NATO “take further steps to help them protect their independence and strengthen their ability to defend themselves.”