President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy had a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who arrived in Ukraine on a visit.
"I am pleased to welcome the NATO Secretary General to Ukraine, and I am glad to have a meaningful conversation with him. Today it is already a conversation between de facto allies and it is only a matter of time before Ukraine becomes a de jure member of the Alliance. We are doing everything to make it happen sooner," the Head of State said while speaking to the media following the negotiations with Jens Stoltenberg in Kyiv.
The President praised the results of Ukraine's cooperation with NATO, which has enabled the creation of defense coalitions. He believes our country's membership in the Alliance will be completely natural and will reinforce both Ukraine and NATO.
"Today, Mr. Secretary General and I discussed all the key defense issues that require attention: the real situation on the battlefield and the needs of Ukrainian warriors. I am confident that we are capable of exerting further pressure on the aggressor so that Russia would only retreat and lose. And this is the right tactic," Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized.
During the meeting, the parties discussed defense against Russian terror, stepping up pressure on Russia, and bolstering Ukraine's sky shield. In particular, they considered the possibility of supplying additional air defense systems by NATO member states.
"The Secretary General has committed to make personal efforts to support us, to rally the Allies behind this very purpose. We need to come through this winter together, protect our energy infrastructure and people's lives," the President noted.
The parties also discussed further work on the rapprochement between Ukraine and NATO. According to the Head of State, the new format of cooperation – the NATO-Ukraine Council – launched at the Vilnius Summit is to ensure our country's movement towards the Alliance and practical interaction.
"Jointly with NATO, we are drawing up a new document – an adapted Annual National Program, which will determine practical steps to ensure Ukraine's compliance with the principles and standards of the Alliance," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
Separately, the President of Ukraine and the NATO Secretary General discussed the NATO Summit to be held next year in Washington. The parties agreed that the summit should be productive for Ukraine and NATO.
"To this end, our teams will immediately start preparing relevant joint actions," the Head of State emphasized.
Jens Stoltenberg, for his part, noted that Ukraine enjoys robust support from all NATO member states. According to him, the Allies will continue to provide Ukraine with the most advanced means to repel Russian invasion, including tanks, modern air defense systems, and will train pilots for F-16 aircraft.
"The stronger Ukraine becomes, the closer we will get to ending Russian aggression," the Secretary General emphasized.
"NATO will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes," Jens Stoltenberg added.