NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg made a surprise visit to Kyiv on Thursday.
In his first visit to Ukraine since Russia launched its full-scale invasion last year, Stoltenberg paid his respects to soldiers who had died fighting Russian forces and inspected Russian military equipment that is on display in a central square in Kyiv.
The NATO chief’s visit comes as Ukrainian forces are preparing for their spring counteroffensive after Russia’s attempt to make gains during winter, especially around the town of Bakhmut, proved largely unsuccessful.
NATO has pledged to support Ukraine in its defense against Russian aggression.
Stoltenberg has invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to take part in a NATO summit in July.
Kyiv launched a bid to join the alliance — a prospect that was seen as being one of the main reasons for Russia’s invasion — after Moscow claimed it had annexed four regions of Ukraine under partial Russian occupation.