Days after being appointed as Latvia's prime minister, Evika Siliņa flew to Brussels and made it clear she endorses Ukraine's ambition to become a member of both the European Union and NATO.
"It is our common task to continue supporting Ukraine until it achieves victory. To guarantee long-term peace in Europe, we have to welcome Ukraine in NATO," the prime minister said on Wednesday, speaking at the alliance's headquarters.
"When helping Ukraine, we must also build up our deterrence and defence capabilities to protect every centimetre of allied territory."
Siliņa was confirmed last week by the Latvian parliament, succeeding Krišjānis Kariņš who announced his resignation in August after the collapse of his ruling coalition. Siliņa, who hails from the same centre-right party as Kariņš, struck a new alliance with two smaller parties and secured the necessary votes to form a governing majority.
During her first visit to Brussels, the prime minister held separate meetings with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and pledged to maintain "strong" military and financial support for Ukraine, which she estimated to be worth 1.3% of the country's GDP.
Siliņa called on the EU to advance Ukraine's integration in the bloc, a topic that is attracting growing attention amid an ongoing dispute over Ukraine's grain exports, which many see as a prelude to what could happen if the war-torn nation, a major agricultural producer, is ever granted membership.
"My government will keep a clear pro-European approach. Latvia can only be strong and prosperous as strong as the European Union is," Siliņa said, next to von der Leyen.
The prime minister urged further action on sanctions against Russia and the legal proceedings to ensure "accountability" for Moscow's crime of aggression.
The European Commission is currently working on plans to ban the import of Russian diamonds and to use the immobilised assets of Russia's Central Bank to pay for Ukraine's reconstruction. Both projects are being coordinated at the G7 level.
Siliņa also condemned the "hybrid attacks" launched by Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko against the EU's eastern borders, which have ratcheted up tensions over the summer and put neighbouring countries on alert.
"This is part of a wider destabilising trend in our region which requires a clear EU reaction," she said.