The head of NATO stressed Kiev’s right to defense and declared “an important week for the security of Europe”. At the same time, it would be unrealistic to assume that the conflict with the Russian Federation can be resolved in a week, Stoltenberg said.
Despite the aggravation of relations with Russia, the North Atlantic Alliance does not intend to give up the prospect of Ukraine’s admission, Secretary General of the organization Jens Stoltenberg said. Ukraine’s accession to NATO is a decision only of this country and the member states of the alliance, he said on Monday, January 10, in Brussels.
Kiev “has the right to defend itself”, and NATO will help, Stoltenberg said before talks with Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Olha Stefanishyna. Commenting on the US-Russian talks scheduled for the same day in Geneva, as well as ensuing meetings in Brussels and Vienna, the head of NATO called it “an important week for Europe’s security”. However, he urged not to expect too much from these consultations. “It would be unrealistic to assume that all the problems could be solved by the end of this week,” he said.
At the same time, Stoltenberg once again called on Russia to refrain from military aggression against Ukraine. Such a decision will lead to unpredictable political and economic consequences, he stressed.
“Diplomatic marathon” on settling the conflict with the Russian Federation
On Monday, US and Russian representatives Wendy Sherman and Sergei Ryabkov are holding bilateral talks in Geneva. The day before, the US Deputy Secretary of State and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation held two-hour preliminary consultations. According to the official representative of the US State Department, Ned Price, during the meeting, Sherman “stressed the US’s commitment to the international principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and freedom of sovereign states to choose their own alliances.” At the same time, Ukraine and its desire to join NATO were discussed.
Two days later, for the first time since the end of 2019, a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council will be held in Brussels, and consultations are scheduled for January 14 in Vienna at a meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). On January 9, the preliminary part of negotiations with the United States on security issues took place.
The Russian authorities, which have been pulling troops and military equipment to the border with Ukraine in recent months, strongly deny plans for a military operation on Ukrainian territory and, in turn, accuse the West of arming Ukraine and conducting exercises near the Russian borders. They demand legally binding security guarantees, in particular, NATO’s refusal from further expansion to the east and from the admitting Ukraine into its membership.