A two-day NATO summit kicked off Tuesday with heads of state and government gathering for a meeting of the North Atlantic Council in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius.
In his opening remarks, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Finland — the country attending the two-day NATO summit for the first time as a member — and Sweden, which he described as a future member of the 31-member military alliance.
The summit began after the leaders posed for a family photo.
“Today, we will make many decisions,” Stoltenberg said, adding that “for a stronger alliance, we will increase our practical and political support to Ukraine… this will bring Ukraine closer to NATO where it belongs.”
“We will also take bold steps to further strengthen our deterrence and defense, including new plans … for the defense of the New Atlantic area. And we will agree more ambitious defense investment pledge,” he added.
Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, for his part, said: “Today allies are meeting in Vilnius to testify the importance of collective solidarity and defense.”
Nauseda noted the meeting will focus on how to strengthen security and defense, how to help Ukraine win, and how to strengthen partnerships with like-minded countries.