NATO on Tuesday agreed to extend Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg’s term by another year as the alliance wants to stick with a familiar leader amid its raging proxy war against Russia in Ukraine.
Stoltenberg is a Norwegian politician and former prime minister of Norway who has led NATO since 2014, overseeing a period of increasing tensions with Russia that led to the most dangerous security situation in Europe since World War II.
“With his steady leadership, experience, and judgment, Secretary General Stoltenberg has brought our Alliance through the most significant challenges in European security since World War II,” President Biden said in a statement on NATO’s decision.
“I look forward to continuing the work with Secretary General Stoltenberg to further strengthen the alliance next week at the NATO Summit in Vilnius, and ahead of the 75th Anniversary NATO Summit in Washington, DC next year,” Biden added.
Ukraine also welcomed the news of Stoltenberg leading the alliance for another year. “Excellent news … Tough times demand strong leadership. Jens Stoltenberg has demonstrated just that. I look forward to furthering our cooperation,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter.
Stoltenberg led the alliance as it significantly increased support for Ukraine in the wake of the 2014 US-backed coup that ousted former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. The alliance’s relationship with Ukraine entered a new phase after Russia invaded last year, as Kyiv’s armed forces have been armed with tens of billions of dollars worth of NATO equipment.
NATO is expected to give new commitments to Ukraine at the upcoming Vilnius summit, which will be held from July 11-12. Since one of Russia’s main motives for invading was Ukraine’s alignment with NATO, whatever pledges Kyiv receives in Vilnius will serve to prolong the war.