Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been invited to participate and will speak twice via videolink, as Kyiv pushes for accelerated weapons deliveries from its allies.
NATO countries, which have already committed billions of dollars in military assistance to Kyiv, will agree a “comprehensive assistance package to Ukraine, to help them uphold the right for self-defence”, said Stoltenberg.
“It is extremely important that we are ready to continue to provide support because Ukraine now faces brutality which we haven’t seen in Europe since the Second World War.”
At the end of a G7 summit in Germany, French President Emmanuel Macron urged NATO allies to show they were united.
“The message that should come out of Madrid is a message of unity and strength for member countries, as well as for those that wish to join and whose applications we are supporting,” he said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will urge his NATO allies to boost their defence spending in response to Russia’s invasion “to restore deterrence and ensure defence in the decade ahead”, his office said.
Beyond Ukraine, the summit will see a revamp of NATO’s strategic concept — which outlines its main security tasks, but has not been revised since 2010 — to mention challenges posed by China for the first time.
Finland and Sweden will be invited to join the alliance at the summit after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday lifted his opposition following crunch talks with the leaders of the two Nordic countries in Madrid.
But it will still take months for Finland and Sweden to officially join NATO, as their entry into the alliance needs to be ratified by the parliaments of the 30 member states.
The summit comes as war rages across Ukraine, particularly in the eastern Donbas region where Moscow has been focusing its offensive after failing to capture Kyiv in the conflict’s early days.
There was global outrage Monday after a missile strike on a shopping mall in the central city of Kremenchuk killed at least 18 people and injured dozens.
Russia claims its missile salvo was aimed at an arms depot. But AFP talked to civilians in Kremenchuk, and none of them knew of any weapons store in the neighbourhood.
“Everything burned, really everything, like a spark to a touchpaper. I heard people screaming. It was horror,” witness Polina Puchintseva said.
All that was left of the mall was charred debris, chunks of blackened walls and lettering from a smashed storefront.
“Only total insane terrorists, who should have no place on Earth, can strike missiles at civilian objects,” said Zelensky on his social media channels.
“Russia must be recognised as a state sponsor of terrorism. The world can and therefore must stop Russian terror,” he added.
At their summit in Germany, G7 leaders agreed to impose new sanctions targeting Moscow’s defence industry, raising tariffs and banning gold imports from the country.
But the Kremlin was unfazed, insisting that Ukrainian forces had to surrender to end the fighting.
“The Ukrainian side can stop everything before the end of today,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
“An order for the nationalist units to lay down their arms is necessary,” he said, adding Kyiv had to fulfil a list of Moscow’s demands.
Hurriyet Daily News