NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stressed the need to provide military support to Ukraine to ensure the dominance on the ground for a lasting peace between Russia and Ukraine.
This came in a press conference, on Tuesday, following the first day of the meeting of foreign ministers of NATO member states in the Romanian capital, Bucharest.
Stoltenberg accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of using winter as a weapon to freeze Ukrainians or force them to flee.
“But our meeting in Bucharest sent a message that NATO will be united and support for Ukraine will continue,” he said.
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He added, “Peace will not be permanent if tyranny and oppression prevail over democracy and freedom. Everyone wants peace, but we must ensure that the aggressor does not win, as Russia occupies a country and violates its territorial integrity.”
He also confirmed that today’s meeting discussed Ukraine’s request to join the alliance, adding: “The foreign ministers reaffirmed NATO’s support for Ukraine’s right to choose its paths, and we understand and respect its desire for membership, and our focus now is on supporting Ukraine’s self-defense against Russia.”
With regard to the request of Sweden and Finland to join the alliance, Stoltenberg said that the two countries are in accordance with the tripartite memorandum they signed with Turkey in the Spanish capital, Madrid.
He said: “Sweden made a constitutional amendment, tightened the anti-terrorism law, deported some people, and lifted the ban on arms exports to Turkey. All of these are important for all NATO countries, not just Turkey.”