Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is received by Norway's King Harald, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit at the Royal Palace in Oslo, Norway, 13 December 2023. Ukrainian President Zelensky attended the Nordic Summit on cooperation on defence and security policy. EPA-EFE/FREDRIK VARFJELL


Nordic nations vow to back Ukraine ‘as long as it takes’ during Zelenskyy visit


The five Nordic nations told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during talks in Oslo that they would support his country “for as long as it takes” in its struggle to drive out Russian forces.

Zelenskyy made his surprise visit to the Norwegian capital on December 13 after meeting US President Joe Biden and American lawmakers in Washington the previous day to plead for more military aid in the face of scepticism from key US Republicans.

Together, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland have provided aid to Ukraine worth some €11 billion since Russia invaded in February 2022 and are ready to continue giving extensive military, economic and humanitarian support, the five nations said in a joint statement.

“The Nordic countries will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes … Russia must end its aggression and withdraw its forces immediately and unconditionally from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders,” it said.

Separately, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said her Government would present a new support package for Ukraine worth €1 billion to Parliament this week.

Four of the five Nordic nations are members of NATO, and Sweden is waiting for its application to join to be approved by all 31 member states.

Zelenskyy earlier stressed the importance of bolstering Ukraine’s air defences, after Russia struck the Ukrainian capital Kyiv with ballistic missiles overnight in the second such attack so far this week.

“Today we talked, and will talk, about such specific things that can save thousands and thousands of Ukrainian lives, as well as increasing pressure on the aggressor,” he told a joint news conference with Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

Støre said Norway would donate 3 billion crowns (€248 million) to Ukraine, part of a package approved previously by Norway’s parliament, of 75 billion crowns over five years.

“We are providing targeted, long-term support to assist Ukraine in its battle for freedom and democracy,” Støre said.