NATO Secretary-General: “Peace In Our Continent Has Been Shattered”
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg spoke out against Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine and offered details about how the organization plans to deal with any threat to member states.
During a news conference Thursday morning, Stoltenberg said the North Atlantic Council activated its defense plans so they can send NATO forces wherever they need to go.
“NATO’s core task is to protect and defend all allies. There must be no room for miscalculation or misunderstanding,” Stoltenberg said.
The secretary-general said forces are being deployed “on land, at sea, and in the air,” including thousands of troops, at least 120 allied ships, and more than 100 jets “on high alert, protecting our air space.”
“We will continue to do whatever is necessary to shield the alliance from aggression,” he said.
“Peace cannot be taken for granted. Freedom and democracy are contested by authoritarian regimes,” Stoltenberg declared.
“We will protect our people and our values. Democracy will always prevail over autocracy. Freedom will always prevail over oppression,” he said.
Ukraine is not a NATO member at this time and Stoltenberg made clear that while the country is considered “a highly valued partner,” NATO will not be getting directly involved within the country.
“There are no NATO troops at all inside Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said, adding that “we don’t have any plans to put NATO troops in Ukraine.”
Stoltenberg spoke solemnly and did not downplay the gravity of the situation.
“Peace in our continent has been shattered,” he said, calling the Russian invasion “a brutal act of war” and “a deliberate, cold-blooded, and long-planned invasion.”
Stoltenberg accused Russia of “using force to try to rewrite history,” stating that “the Kremlin’s aim is to re-establish its sphere of influence … and subvert the values that we hold dear.”
He implored Russia “to immediately cease” its military actions, but said holding talks with the Kremlin is not currently an option.
“Russia has shut the door to a political solution. We regret that, but that is sadly the reality,” he said.