NATO chief Stoltenberg makes surprise visit to wartime Ukraine
In an unexpected visit, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg arrived in Kyiv on Thursday (20 April) for the first time since Russia launched its full-scale invasion last February in a show of support for Ukraine as it prepares to launch a counteroffensive.
“NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is in Ukraine,” a NATO official confirmed to EURACTIV, without giving more details on the visit for security reasons.
According to a Reuters photographer, Stoltenberg paid his respects to Ukrainian soldiers who had been killed fighting in the war and reviewed damaged Russian military equipment displayed on a central square in Kyiv.
Stoltenberg’s surprise visit comes as Ukrainian officials are pushing the Western military alliance to give Kyiv a clearer path to membership.
Kyiv formally requested “accelerated accession” to join NATO in September last year, a debate likely to pick up steam ahead of the alliance’s July Vilnius summit.
But while NATO promised Ukraine during its 2008 Bucharest summit that the country will eventually become a member at some point, most NATO allies are hesitant to offer Kyiv concrete promises as the war wages on.
This is a developing story and will be updated in due course
[Edited by Alice Taylor]