NATO will not reduce its support for Ukraine, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference on Friday.
“Most wars end with negotiations,” Stoltenberg said, speaking ahead of a NATO foreign ministers meeting, which will take place in Bucharest, Romania, at the end of November.
“But what happens at the negotiating table depends on what happens on the battlefield. Therefore, the best way to increase the chances for a peaceful solution is to support Ukraine,” he added.
“So NATO will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes. We will not back down,” Stoltenberg stated.
Increase in “non-lethal support”: Stoltenberg said foreign ministers are providing “unprecedented military support” and he expects they will agree to step up “non-lethal support,” at the Bucharest meeting.
NATO has been delivering fuel, medical supplies, winter equipment and drone jammers, according to Stoltenberg.
Stoltenberg thanked allies for their contributions and said he will call for further contribution at the Bucharest meeting to help Ukraine transition from Soviet-era equipment to those of modern NATO standards, as well as support military training.
He said decisions over sending US-made Patriot air defense systems to Ukraine are “national decisions” for specific nations, when asked about Warsaw’s request for Germany to send Patriot units to Ukraine rather than Poland. Germany’s offer to Poland came following a deadly missile strike on Polish territory near the Ukrainian border on November 15.
Stoltenberg said that in the past, with the advanced NASAMS air defense system, training was conducted in NATO ally countries by NATO personnel. However, no NATO personnel has conducted work inside Ukraine, as this would mean NATO was a party to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
“There are ways for us to ensure that [Ukraine] can operate modern advanced systems without deploying NATO personnel inside the Ukraine. But … the specific decisions on the specific systems are national decisions,” he said.
He added that sometimes end user agreements, and other arrangements, meant that consultation with other allies were required, but ultimately the decision must be taken by national governments.