NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg welcomes Norway's 'significant' miltary aid to Ukraine

A Leopard 2 main battle tank is parking in front of a facility at the German forces Bundeswehr training area in Munster, Germany, Monday, Feb. 20, 2023.
A Leopard 2 main battle tank is parking in front of a facility at the German forces Bundeswehr training area in Munster, Germany, Monday, Feb. 20, 2023. Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Euronews with Agencies
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Eight German-made Leopard tanks contributed by Norway have arrived in Ukraine.

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has praised Norway's financial and military aid to Ukraine, one day after a delivery of eight German-made Leopard tanks sent by Oslo arrived in the country. 

"I welcome Norway’s significant financial, humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine," Stoltenberg said on Friday at a joint press conference in Brussels with Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

"This includes air defence systems, tanks, artillery ammunition and training for Ukrainian soldiers. We must continue to provide Ukraine with what they need to prevail, for as long as it takes."

In January, Norway announced it would contribute to the international donation of tanks to Ukraine.

“Now the eight tanks are in place in Ukraine, and the training of personnel is also underway in Poland, under the auspices of the EU”, the Norwegian army said in a statement. 

Norway, which is not in the European Union, is a member of NATO. 

"Top priority" Sweden joins NATO

Stoltenberg also welcomed the news that Turkey and Hungary are ready to ratify Finland's membership of NATO. And he called on them to "swiftly" lift their block on Sweden's bid to join the alliance:  

"For me, it is a top priority to make sure that Sweden's accession is also ratified as soon as possible. The accession of Finland and Sweden will make our alliance stronger and demonstrate that NATO's door remains open."

Both Finland and Sweden applied in May 2022 to become NATO members in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, abandoning decades of nonalignment.

NATO requires the unanimous approval of its 30 existing members to expand, and Turkey and Hungary are the only countries that haven't yet ratified the Nordic duo's bids.

Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that his government would move forward with ratifying Finland's NATO application, paving the way for the country to join the military bloc.

Erdogan added Turkey wouldn't ratify Sweden's bid before disputes between Ankara and Stockholm are solved.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre added:

"We agreed in Madrid that these two countries fulfil the requirements for membership, and that's why I believe all allies should feel it as an obligation to follow up and do the proper ratifications."

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