Stoltenberg: NATO-Ukraine Council in the works, first meeting planned in Vilnius in July

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has announced that the alliance is currently working on establishing the NATO-Ukraine Council, its first meeting is scheduled to be held in Vilnius in July, Novaya Gazeta Europe reports.

“We are also working to establish a new NATO-Ukraine Council, where Ukraine will be equal to NATO allies and [where will be able to] consult and decide on security issues of mutual concern. Our ambition is to have the first meeting of the new Council in Vilnius, with [Ukrainian] President [Volodymyr] Zelensky,” the NATO chief noted.

He also welcomed the new pledges to supply arms to Ukraine and train Ukrainian personnel. One of them is the Netherlands- and Denmark-led initiative to begin F-16 fighter jet training programmes for Ukrainian pilots this summer. Moreover, the alliance’s move together with the UK and the US to export “hundreds of short and medium-range air defence missiles” to Kyiv.

“Allies have also pledged increased support through NATO’s Comprehensive Assistance Package. With contributions and commitments amounting to €500 million so far. We are working on a multi-year package with substantial funding,” Stoltenberg stressed.

According to him, the alliance plans to help in restoring Ukraine’s defence and security sectors, while also to “transition Ukraine towards full interoperability with NATO”.

The NATO chief also welcomed the fact that some NATO allies are discussing bilateral and multilateral agreements with Kyiv.

On Friday, a NATO defence minister meeting concluded in Brussels. It featured Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov and took place over two days, 15 and 16 June, in the NATO headquarters.

Stoltenberg repeatedly underlined that the meeting is held amid the largest Ukrainian counter-offensive. He is confident that Ukraine’s battlefield successes will be able to persuade the Russian leader to launch peace talks.

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