NATO plays key support role for Ukraine, secretary general says

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg pledged that the alliance would meet to “step up and support” Ukraine this week.

“NATO is not party to the conflict. But our support is playing a key role,” he said during a news conference Tuesday.

On Wednesday, NATO defense ministers will invite their Ukrainian counterpart to “discuss advanced air defense systems and other capabilities to Ukraine, and I look forward to further deliveries,” Stoltenberg said.

“Ukraine has the momentum, and continues to have significant gains, while Russia is increasingly resorting to horrific and indiscriminate attacks on civilians and critical infrastructure. President Putin is failing in Ukraine,” Stoltenberg added.

Referencing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s veiled threats of a nuclear strike, Stoltenberg said that “Russia knows that the nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

“We are closely monitoring Russia’s nuclear forces; we have not seen any changes in Russia’s posture, but we remain vigilant,” he said.  

The secretary general called again for Putin to withdraw his troops from Ukraine.

He also addressed Belarus’ joint military deployments with Russia indirectly by saying that Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko should “stop the complicity of Belarus in this illegal conflict.”

Stoltenberg additionally said NATO had enhanced the protection of critical infrastructure following what he has called the “sabotage” of the Nord Stream pipelines, doubling its presence in the Baltic and North Seas to over 30 ships and increasing intelligence-sharing.

“Any attack [on] allies’ critical infrastructure would be met with a united and determined response,” he said.

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