Visiting Vilnius on Monday (26 June 2023), Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg thanked President Gitanas Nausėda for Lithuania’s many contributions to NATO, and for hosting the Alliance’s upcoming Summit.
“We are monitoring the situation in Russia,” said Mr Stoltenberg. “The events over the weekend are an internal Russian matter, and yet another demonstration of the big strategic mistake that President Putin made with his illegal annexation of Crimea and the war against Ukraine. As Russia continues its assault, it is even more important to continue our support to Ukraine.” The Secretary General also condemned Russia’s announcement about deploying nuclear weapons to Belarus, calling it “reckless and irresponsible”. He added: “we don’t see any indication that Russia is preparing to use nuclear weapons, but NATO remains vigilant. If Russia thinks it can intimidate us from supporting Ukraine, it will fail.”
The two leaders discussed final preparations for the Vilnius Summit, which will take place on 11 and 12 July. This includes a multi-year package of assistance and upgraded political ties with Ukraine, as well as reinforcing Allied deterrence and defence – with new regional plans, and a rotational model for air and missile defence. Allies will also agree on a more ambitious defence investment pledge with 2 percent of GDP as a floor, not a ceiling.
Later on Monday, the Secretary General and the President will attend exercise Griffin Storm, which will test reinforcing the German-led NATO battlegroup in Lithuania up to brigade size.