Fri, 02 June 2023
The Daily Ittefaq

NATO chief makes surprise visit to Kyiv

Update : 21 Apr 2023, 02:00

Jens Stoltenberg has arrived in the Ukrainian capital on an unannounced visit. Meanwhile, the Netherlands and Denmark are planning on sending 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg made a surprise visit to Kyiv on Thursday.

In his first visit to Ukraine since Russia launched its full-scale invasion last year, Stoltenberg paid his respects to soldiers who had died fighting Russian forces and inspected Russian military equipment that is on display in a central square in Kyiv.

"Now, when the majority of people in NATO countries and the majority of Ukrainians support the entry of our country into the alliance, it is time to take the appropriate decision," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said later during a joint press conference with Stoltenberg.

The NATO chief responded by saying that discussing Ukraine's accession to the alliance would be high on the agenda at the next NATO summit.

"Ukraine's future is in the Euro-Atlantic family, Ukraine's future is in NATO, all allies agree on that," he said.

Stoltenberg has invited Zelenskyy to take part in a NATO summit in July.

Kyiv launched a bid to join the alliance — a prospect that was seen as being one of the main reasons for Russia's invasion — after Moscow claimed it had annexed four regions of Ukraine under partial Russian occupation.

Zelenskyy also called on Stoltenberg to help drum up support for more advanced weapons deliveries to Ukraine.

"I addressed the Secretary-General with a request to help us overcome the reluctance of our partners regarding the delivery of certain weapons, namely long-range, modern aviation, artillery, armored vehicles," the Ukrainian president said.

Stoltenberg's visit comes as Ukrainian forces are preparing for their spring counteroffensive after Russia's attempt to make gains during winter, especially around the town of Bakhmut, proved largely unsuccessful.

NATO has pledged to support Ukraine in its defense against Russian aggression.

Meanwhile, Russia reaffirmed its wartime goal of preventing the neighboring country from joining NATO.

Following the arrival of Stoltenberg in Kyiv, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia saw itself threatened by Ukraine's possible NATO membership "because otherwise this brings a serious, significant danger to our country, to its security."

More on this topic

More on this topic