NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited Ukraine on Thursday for the first time since the Russian invasion and honoured fallen Ukrainian soldiers in Kyiv.

Many were surprised when NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg appeared in Kyiv on Thursday.

The NATO chief’s visit was not announced in advance and only became known when a journalist from the Kyiv Independent newspaper discovered and photographed him during a ceremony on St. Michael’s Square in the centre of Kyiv.

NTB-Reuters reports on the case.

The pictures were posted on Twitter and show Stoltenberg surrounded by bodyguards where he stands with his head bowed in front of a wreath and a line of uniformed soldiers.

Several media, including Reuters, were also present and have confirmed Stoltenberg’s visit to the Ukrainian capital. There he was also shown destroying Russian military equipment before disappearing in a car.

Stoltenberg’s further program during the visit is not known, but it is assumed that he will have a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelenskyj.

NATO’s information department confirms the visit to NTB, but has no further information.

NATO’s Secretary General is in Ukraine. We will provide more information as soon as possible, it says.

Although Ukraine is not a member of NATO, NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is strongly involved in the ongoing war in the country. NATO countries also provide significant support in the form of military equipment to Ukraine.

Ukraine has also expressed a clear desire to become a NATO member, but it will be a long process before such a thing can become relevant. First and foremost, it is a requirement that an applicant country for NATO should not be in an ongoing war or conflict.

Most people expect that the NATO countries Turkey and Hungary will have objections to letting Ukraine in, in the same way that they have been sceptical about Sweden and Finland. Unanimity is required among the member states to admit new nations into the alliance.

According to Stoltenberg’s programme, he was supposed to receive the Czech Republic’s new president Petr Pavel at NATO headquarters on Thursday, but this visit took place on Wednesday.

On Friday, the NATO chief is scheduled to attend a meeting of the so-called contact group for Ukraine, which brings together envoys from around 50 countries that assist the country with military aid.

The meeting takes place at the American Ramstein base outside Kaiserslautern in Germany and is chaired by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

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