The Alliance is ready to listen to Russia’s concerns and is ready to discuss strengthening the fundamental principles of the entire European security, Stoltenberg assured.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addressed the Russian Foreign Ministry with a proposal to hold a new meeting of the Russia-NATO Council. He said this on Thursday, February 10, during a briefing with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“This morning I sent a letter to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The continuation of the Russia-NATO Council meetings is important for mutual trust,” Stoltenberg said.
He noted the importance of “finding a diplomatic way forward”.
“We are ready to listen to Russia’s concerns and are ready to discuss strengthening the fundamental principles of the entire European security, to which we have all subscribed… But NATO will not compromise on key principles – the right of each state to choose its own path, and NATO’s ability to protect all allies,” Stoltenberg stressed.
According to him, the Russian Federation continues to increase its military presence on the border with Ukraine.
“We discussed the buildup of Russia’s military presence in and near Ukraine with 100,000 units on alert with heavy equipment and medical units. We are also closely monitoring the deployment of Russian units in Belarus, the largest since the end of the Cold War. This is a dangerous moment for European security. The number of Russian armed forces is increasing, the time for warning about a possible attack is decreasing,” the NATO Secretary General said.
He also said that next week NATO defense ministers will discuss the issue of further strengthening the allies’ security, including “the location of additional units in the southern part of our alliance”. “Russian aggression will lead to an even greater, not less, NATO presence,” he assured.
At the same time, the Secretary General assured that “NATO poses no threat to Russia”. “But we must prepare for the worst, while remaining committed to finding a political solution,” Stoltenberg added.
In addition, he said that the Ukrainian army has greatly strengthened since 2014.
“The Ukrainian army and defense forces have become much stronger than in 2014. They are better equipped, better prepared, better managed...We will not ignore the support for Ukraine, I think it to be fair now,” Stoltenberg said.
In turn, Prime Minister Johnson did not rule out that in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, Britain is ready to “go further” and provide additional military support to Ukraine.
“We will consider what else we can offer. Ukrainians have prepared well, there are things that we have offered that they don’t really seem to need, because they think they already have enough,” Johnson summed up.
Meanwhile, Lavrov held talks with British Foreign Minister Liz Truss in Moscow.