Oct 12, 2022 - World

NATO chief: Providing more air defense to Ukraine is "top priority"

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks to the press

Jens Stoltenberg speaks to the press ahead of a two-day meeting of NATO's defense ministers in Brussels, Belgium on Oct. 12. Photo: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Providing additional air defense to Ukraine will be a "top priority" during a meeting of NATO defense ministers later Wednesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference.

Driving the news: Stoltenberg's remarks come mere days after Russia launched its largest bombardment of Ukraine since the start of the war on Monday.

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appealed for an "air shield" while addressing an emergency virtual meeting of G7 leaders on Tuesday.
  • President Biden promised Zelensky during a phone call on Monday that the U.S. would provide Ukraine with advanced air defense systems.

What they're saying: The message from NATO during the meeting will be that it is "prepared for the long haul and that we will support them for as long as it takes," Stoltenberg said, echoing the pledge of enduring support made by G7 leaders on Tuesday.

  • "We will address how to ramp up support for Ukraine. The top priority will be more air defense for Ukraine," Stoltenberg added. "Allies have provided air defense but we need even more."
  • "We need different types of air defense: short range, long range, air defence systems to take ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, drones, different systems for different tasks," he said.
  • "Ukraine is a big country, many cities, so we need to scale up to be able to help Ukraine defend even more cities and more territory against the horrific Russian attacks against their civilian populations."
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