NATO sent a message: We will defend every inch
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said today in Bucharest that the military alliance is ready to defend every inch of its territory.Source: Tanjug
Stoltenberg, speaking at a meeting organized by the Aspen Institute of Romania and the German Marshall Fund, pointed out that Romania is a strong and very important NATO ally.
"I repeat that every day. Romania makes a great contribution to NATO by assigning an excellent deputy secretary general," he stressed.
Stoltenberg announced that NATO foreign ministers are meeting in Bucharest at a time when the Russian war is raging on Romania's borders.
"This is a critical time for our security, but we are sending a message that NATO is here, alert and ready to defend every inch of its territory. In response to the war in Ukraine, we have raised the readiness of our troops. We have doubled our combat units from two to eight.
Last week, NATO conducted exercises in Romania in which aircraft from Spain, Turkey, the United States and France participated. This showed that NATO allies cooperate and that they are ready to defend every inch of the country, as well as their airspace," he said.
Stoltenberg added that NATO is not part of the conflict in Ukraine, but that it provides support to that country.
"Ukraine is a nation that has the right to self-defense, which is written in the UN Charter. Putin is facing failure and responding to it with more brutality. We have more and more missile attacks on civilian infrastructure. It's terrible for Ukraine, but it's a difficult time for us in Europe, and the whole world," underlined Stoltenberg.
He said that we are all paying the price of Russia's war against Ukraine, but we are paying it in money, and Ukrainians are paying it in blood.
"If we let Putin win, we will all pay a higher price, because then the lesson that Putin and other authoritarian leaders would learn is that it pays to use force. That would make our world much more fragile and dangerous. That is why it is in our interest to support Ukraine", he emphasized.
Stoltenberg said that there is no sustainable peace if the aggressor wins, if oppression and autocracy win over democracy. He pointed out that it is important to continue to support Ukraine militarily in order to gain the best possible position before the peace negotiations, when they take place.
"Our message is that NATO will stay with Ukraine as long as it takes," he underlined.
Stoltenberg said that Russian aggression against Ukraine began eight years ago, and that NATO has been on standby since then.
The Secretary General said that the Russian war against Ukraine did not cause NATO to forget about further partners that are exposed to Russian aggression or Russian threats, such as Georgia, Moldova and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
He emphasized that it is important to strengthen their resilience and modernize the military forces so that they can defend themselves better.
"If those countries are safer, then we are safer," Stoltenberg said.
Asked about China, Stoltenberg said that the expansion of that country's presence shows that it is necessary to constantly monitor the resilience and security of NATO countries. He said that NATO does not intend to become a global military alliance, but he sees China expanding its presence, from cyberspace, across Africa, but also increasing its influence within Europe, including activities to try to control critical infrastructure.
In this regard, he pointed to the 5G network, saying that in 2019 some claimed it was just a commercial decision, as they claimed it was with gas.
"I think what we saw from the case of Russian gas is that these are commercial decisions, but they have to do with our security. We have to take security aspects into account when making such decisions"; said Stoltenberg.
He pointed out that NATO has developed recommendations for strengthening the resilience of critical infrastructure, which do not have a focus on China, but are also related to that country.