NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a speech to address the International Defence Industry Forum in Kyiv on Friday that “weapons for Ukraine are the way to peace.”
Stoltenberg also praised the Ukrainian defense industry’s resourcefulness, noting that “from drones to demining,” Ukraine’s defense innovation proceeded at “lightning speed.”
The NATO chief, who addressed the forum via video link after meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv the day earlier, said that “the stronger Ukraine is on the battlefield, the stronger their position will be at any negotiating table.”
“Heroism alone cannot intercept missiles. Ukraine needs capabilities, high quality, high quantity, and quickly. There is no defense without industry,” he added.
Ukraine sought to host the defense industry conference in a bid to ramp up its arms production and cut its dependence on allied weapon deliveries.
In his opening speech, Zelenskyy acknowledged the forum’s attendance of around 250 defense companies from over 30 countries, with defense ministers and representatives of several countries also present during the event.
Wendy Gilmour, NATO assistant secetary general for defense investment, represented the trans-Atlantic security alliance in the forum.