NATO Chief Pledges Support for 'Underestimated' Ukraine on Invasion Anniversary

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg pledged the alliance’s continued support for Ukraine on the anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion and urged that those responsible for war crimes be held accountable.

Stoltenberg said Russia had underestimated the resolve of Ukrainians and the NATO alliance, noting that President Vladimir Putin planned to take Kyiv in a matter of days, and control the country within weeks of the invasion.

The NATO chief said Russia must immediately stop the war and withdraw from Ukraine, and that people responsible for war crimes must be held responsible.

NATO will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes,” he said. Credit: Jens Stoltenberg via Storyful

Video transcript

JENS STOLTENBERG: A year ago, President Putin ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine to take control of your country and take away your freedom. He expected to take Kyiv in a few days and to control Ukraine in a few weeks. But he totally underestimated your courage, your strength, and your love for your country.

And he totally underestimated the resolve of NATO's allies to stand united and to provide unprecedented support to Ukraine. NATO has supported Ukraine since you regained your independence. We stepped up after Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea.

And today, we are doing more than ever to help you uphold your right to self-defense, a right enshrined in the UN charter. NATO allies are providing large-scale financial and humanitarian aid and military aid. From air defense systems and artillery to anti-tank missiles and ammunition.

And allies will soon deliver more than main battle tanks. One year since Putin's invasion, my message is clear. Russia must immediately stop this war and withdraw from Ukraine.

All those responsible for war crimes must be held accountable. NATO will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes. We stand by your right to choose your own path as a proud, sovereign, and independent nation in Europe. This war has taken the lives of many of your loved ones.

It has destroyed many homes, schools, and hospitals. It has left many wounds, visible and invisible. But it will never destroy the spirit of the Ukrainian nation, a brave nation, which has inspired the whole world. I wish you strength. I wish you success. And I wish you victory.