Stoltenberg tells Biden about Ukraine’s “progress” on the battlefield – DW – 06/14/2023

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was in the United States on Tuesday for talks with the US President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

Stoltenberg told Biden in an Oval Office meeting that “the support we provide together for Ukraine is now making a difference on the battlefield” amid Kiev’s counteroffensive.

NATO introduced Ukrainian forces with weapons and weapons over the past few months to help it seize territory that Russia has occupied since it launched its all-out invasion of its neighbor in February last year.

Earlier today, the outgoing NATO chief told CNN radio: “The more territory they gain, the more likely it is that President Putin will understand that he has to sit down at the negotiating table and agree to a just and lasting peace in Ukraine.”

Biden’s root canal procedure delayed the initial meeting

Biden thanked Stoltenberg for his patience and for the rescheduling The president underwent a second root canal surgery On Monday after recording dental discomfort over the weekend.

Biden said that NATO has become more unified during this period Russia’s war in Ukraine And “we will build on this momentum” when the coalition holds its annual summit in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, on July 11-12.

“I had a lot of fun yesterday afternoon,” Biden said. The President said to the NATO chief, “I have a little dental problem that I have been taking care of, and I thank you for soothing me.”

Then Biden referred to his last meeting with Stoltenberg in Warsaw.

“I think you said it, and I agree with you, NATO has never been more united,” he said. “We both worked like hell to make it happen. And so far, so good.”

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Echoing previous comments by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Biden said the US’ commitment to Article 5 of the NATO Joint Defense Pact was “very solid.”

Meanwhile, Stoltenberg thanked Biden “most importantly for your leadership and strong personal commitment to the transatlantic community, to both Europe and North America.”

Meanwhile, Blinken thanked the outgoing NATO Secretary General “especially” for his “strong and steady hand” during “one of the most critical times I can remember in the alliance’s history.”

The US Secretary of State said that NATO is “stronger and more united than it has ever been” thanks in part to Stoltenberg.

Blinken: Vilnius summit ‘reaffirms commitment to defend every inch of NATO territory’

Stoltenberg said his talks in the US were part of broader preparations for the upcoming summit of NATO leaders in Vilnius in July.

Blinken told reporters he expects the alliance to “reaffirm its shared commitment to Article 5 and to the defense of every inch of NATO territory” at the summit.

He also said he expects “a strong package of political and practical support” for Ukraine, as well as commitments on defense spending and expanding defense capabilities.

“We also believe it is time to welcome Sweden as a next member of the coalition,” Blinken said, after Hungary and Turkey in particular slowed down the process in recent months.

In Europe, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Schultz and Polish President Andrzej Duda Discuss Ukraine’s counterattack in Paris Monday evening.

Stoltenberg: Counterattack can help force peace talks

Ahead of the political appointments on Tuesday, Stoltenberg spoke to US news channel CNN about the escalation of fighting in Ukraine as authorities in Kiev say their long-awaited counter-offensive has begun in earnest.

He said it was still “early days” to attempt payment, and acknowledged that the situation was still “difficult”.

“They have the right … to liberate their land,” Stoltenberg said.

He also hinted, as Macron did in France on Monday, that a successful Ukrainian push might force Russia to the negotiating table on something closer to Kiev’s terms.

Heavy fighting in Ukraine: Kiev declares gains, says Putin at high cost

Ukraine has reported gains in pushing south along a nearly 100-kilometre (60-mile) front in the country’s south and east in recent days, recapturing several villages along the line.

Reuters news agency reported on Tuesday that its journalists had gained access to one such liberated village, Neskushyn, saying that a Ukrainian flag was flying over a grocery store in the deserted village, which had a population of a few hundred before the Russian invasion.

Russian president Russian President Vladimir Putin He did not dispute Ukraine’s territorial gains on Tuesday, but claimed Kiev’s forces incurred huge costs to achieve them.

In a televised meeting with war correspondents and military bloggers, Putin claimed that Ukraine had lost more than 160 tanks and about a quarter of foreign-supplied military vehicles, while Russia had lost 54 tanks. DW has not been able to verify his assertions.

Putin also said he saw no need for another massive mobilization of reservists in the conflict. However, he acknowledged that the Russian authorities could have been better prepared for the recent attacks across the Russian border, for which Moscow ultimately blames Kiev, while the Ukrainian government claims no involvement.

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rm, msh/rs, jsi (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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