Secretary General In Washington: NATO Allies Are United Like Never Before
At a joint press conference with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday (8 February 2023), Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg commended President Biden and the United States for their strong leadership during the most serious security crisis in a generation. “Unwavering American leadership and bipartisan support have ensured that NATO Allies are united like never before,” said Mr Stoltenberg.
The Secretary General underscored that since President Putin launched his illegal war of aggression, NATO Allies have provided unprecedented support for Ukraine, with around $120 billion in military, humanitarian and financial assistance. He said that the United States is playing “an indispensable role”, while Europe and Canada have stepped up as well, contributing over half of the overall assistance, including tanks and advanced air defence systems, welcoming almost 5 million refugees from Ukraine, applying unprecedented sanctions, and decoupling from Russian gas supplies.
“Putin started this war of aggression. And he can end this war today by withdrawing his troops from Ukraine”, said Mr Stoltenberg. He said that “Moscow is preparing for new offensives” and that Allies and partners must continue to provide Ukraine with the weapons it needs to retake territory, and to prevail as a sovereign nation. He added that if Putin wins, it would be a tragedy for Ukraine, “but it would also be dangerous for all of us”, as that would send a clear message to other authoritarian regimes that they can use force to achieve their goals. The Secretary General noted that “Beijing is watching closely and learning lessons that may influence its future decisions.”
The Secretary General and Secretary Blinken also discussed the need to “strengthen our defence and deterrence and further increase defence spending”, as well as the importance of completing Finland and Sweden’s accession to NATO. Mr. Stoltenberg said that all Allies have signed the accession protocols, 28 Allies have ratified the agreement and Finland and Sweden are now being integrated into NATO’s civilian and military structures. He stressed that it is important to conclude their membership process as soon as possible, as “this will strengthen the security of all Allies”.
While in Washington, Mr Stoltenberg’s agenda also includes a meeting with Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Congressional leadership.