SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Hello, everyone.  It is always great to be with my friend, my colleague, Dmytro Kuleba, but especially good here at – to be here at NATO and sitting around the table together and making sure and making clear – as we heard from every single country around the NATO table – our enduring commitment to Ukraine, to making sure that Ukraine has what it needs to defend itself against Russian aggression, to continue to take back territory seized from it by Russia, as well as to build a strong country that strands strongly on its own feet militarily, economically, democratically.  All of that was very, very clear around the NATO table over the last two days, including with the foreign minister today.

And the relationship, the partnership between NATO and Ukraine is also vitally important.  We reaffirmed the commitments made at Vilnius that Ukraine will become a member of NATO when Allies agree the conditions are met, but we also focused intensely on the practical work that is being done and will continue to be done as we head to the Washington Summit next year on continuing to strengthen Ukraine’s capacity.

Last thing I’ll say is this:  Our friends every single day are showing incredible resilience, incredible courage when faced with the ongoing onslaught from Russia.  I think it’s also important to step back and recognize that even as we know how challenging the day in, day out is and how determined we are to make sure that Ukraine has everything that it needs, it’s already shown extraordinary success.  We see that, for example, now in the Black Sea, where Ukraine has pushed back the Russian fleet and is able to export its food and other products to the world, which so needs them.  We see that in all the territory taken back over the last year from Russia.  And we see that in the work that Ukraine is doing every single day also to build a strong economy with more private sector investment coming in, and to build a strong democracy.

This aggression has been a strategic debacle for Russia, which is weaker militarily, it’s weaker economically, it’s weaker diplomatically.  Ukraine is more united than it’s ever been.  Ukraine is well on the path to NATO as well as to the European Union with the accession process beginning.  And of course we’ve seen important steps in Europe, including moving away from dependence on Russian energy – remarkable steps in just – in less than – now than two years.

So it’s important to have the big picture in mind even as we’re acutely aware of the challenges that Ukraine faces day in, day out.  But our awareness is matched by a determination to stand with Ukraine, to support Ukraine, to work with Ukraine, and that was reaffirmed here today at NATO.


FOREIGN MINISTER KULEBA:  Thank you, Tony.  Likewise, always great to speak on the phone, but always much better to meet in person, indeed in Ukraine, Brussels, United States, or any other place on the planet.

On my way to the meeting room today, journalists asked me about war fatigue and about my concerns about – regarding the continuation of the support to Ukraine.  And when I was walking out of the meeting, I can clearly – I wish I could tell journalists what I heard in the room, but since our meetings are confidential, we will keep it with ourselves.  But if I am to sum up this meeting that we had today, there was a clear no to fatigue and a clear yes to continued and increased support to Ukraine.  And it’s striking to see this spirit and of unity in the room on these two issues.

So anyone who is waiting in the world and who is heading up these narratives about fatigue and decreasing support – and we know who does – anyone who is counting that this narrative will prevail and will become the mainstream narrative, that person is failing.  And today’s meeting clearly demonstrated that.

I am pleased to have heard how the – how our call to step up the production of weapons and ammunition resonates among NATO Allies.  I have no doubts that after this meeting, there will be specific moves and actions to put our political will into real action in the area of defense industries.  So thank you for your very strong statement at this meeting.  We will keep working for – to prepare well for the Washington Summit next year.

And I would like to conclude by conveying through you our unwavering gratitude to the people of the United States of America for supporting Ukraine, for continuing standing by Ukraine, and for their clear understanding that what happens to Ukraine in Ukraine has a direct impact on the security and prosperity of the United States.  And this is why we have to win – not only for the sake of my country and not only for the sake of your country, but also for the entire world to be run by rules and not by dictators.  So thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  Thanks, everyone.  Come on in.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future