NATO Secretary General meets with European Union Defence Ministers

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg joined EU Defence Ministers on Tuesday (16 November 2021) to address issues including Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and NATO-EU cooperation.

The Secretary General underlined that NATO stands in full solidarity with Poland and other Allies affected by the Belarusian regime’s use of migrants as a hybrid tactic. Mr. Stoltenberg also said NATO continues to monitor a build-up of Russian forces close to Ukraine’s borders and that the Alliance continues to provide political and practical support to Ukraine. The Secretary General also highlighted the strength of NATO-EU cooperation and how it could expand to include new areas of cooperation in the future, such as resilience, emerging and disruptive technologies, and the security impact of climate change.

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Doorstep statement by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the Council of the EU

I look forward to meet the EU Defence Ministers and to discuss different timely issues like the situation on the border between Poland and Belarus, Ukraine, but also NATO-EU cooperation.

On the issue of the situation on the border between Belarus and Poland, but also on the border between Belarus and two other NATO Allies, Latvia and Lithuania.

Of course, we are deeply concerned about the way the Lukashenko regime is using vulnerable migrants….We follow this very closely, and we stand in solidarity with Poland and other Allies affected. And we are ready also to continue to support and consult closely with the Allies involved.

On Ukraine.

We are watching closely the military build-up by Russia….We have seen this before.

And we think it is extremely important now to send a clear message to Russia about reducing tensions, be transparent and avoid any type of escalation of the situation in and around Ukraine.

NATO Allies will continue to monitor closely. We will continue to provide political and practical support to Ukraine. And of course, we also send a very clear message of resolve in protecting all Allies in the region.

NATO Allies as, for instance, United States, Canada, United Kingdom, also Turkey and other Allies, also European Allies provide support to Ukraine. And we do that because we support Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

And we are monitoring the situation in the Region. And then of course, as a direct consequence of the use of military force against Ukraine by Russia, – first by illegally annexing Crimea and then later on by supporting the militants in Donbas in Eastern Ukraine-, NATO Allies have implemented the biggest reinforcements of our collective defence since the end of the Cold War with increased military presence in the Eastern part of the Alliance, with battle groups in the Baltic countries, with increased presence in the Black Sea region, and also by increasing the readiness of our forces.

So this sends a very clear message to Russia about the commitment, about the resolve on NATO Allies to protect all NATO Allies, also of course in Eastern part of the Alliance.