Press conference by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the meetings of NATO Defence Ministers

NATO to address Ukraine support, deterrence and defence, investment

NATO Defence Ministers are meeting in Brussels on Thursday and Friday to prepare for the Vilnius Summit in July. Previewing the meeting on Wednesday June 14, 2023, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that ministers would address stepping up support for Ukraine, and strengthening deterrence and defense including with new regional plans.

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Addressing Ukraine’s ongoing counter-offensive, the Secretary General said: “It is still early days, and we do not know if this will be a turning point of the war, but we see that the Ukrainians are making advances and liberating more land.

We know that the more gains Ukraine makes, the stronger their hand will be at the negotiating table. The more gains Ukraine makes, the more likely it will be that President Putin realises he cannot win on the battlefield, but has to negotiate a just peace.” The ministerial will begin with a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, preceded by the Ukraine Defence Contact Group, led by the United States.

Ministers are expected to agree on establishing a new NATO Maritime Centre for the Security of Critical Undersea Infrastructure within MARCOM, the NATO Maritime Command in the UK. Defence Ministers will also meet with meet with small, medium and large defence producers from across the Alliance, and will review a new Defence Production Action Plan. The plan aims to rapidly address shortfalls in Allied stocks, building on 1 billion dollars in joint procurement just for 155mm ammunition underway this year by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency. Allies have now completed an exceptional review of national capability targets for battle-decisive munitions, and ministers are expected to increase the targets substantially.

Allies will also address a renewed Defence Investment Pledge for the Vilnius Summit, with 2% of GDP on defence as a floor, not a ceiling. 

The Nuclear Planning Group will also convene during the ministerial to “discuss the nuclear aspects of the current security environment, and consider the ongoing adaptation of NATO’s nuclear deterrence,” said Mr Stoltenberg.

This will be the last meeting of NATO Defence Ministers before the Vilnius Summit on 11 and 12 July.

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