MIL-OSI Security: Doorstep statement by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the B9 Summit in Riga

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Source: NATO

NATO Secretary General: Good morning. It is great to be back in Riga. It is great to be attending the B9 meeting. I look forward to meet the heads of state and government together with the Finnish and Swedish representatives and the Swedish prime minister and the Finnish president.

The B9 is a very good platform to address current NATO issues and at the meeting today we will discuss the preparations for the upcoming Washington Summit, deterrence and defence. How to ensure that NATO continues to provide credible deterrence based on strong collective defence. And also, we will address how we ensure that we put support to Ukraine on a firmer and more robust footing.  So, Ukraine and deterrence and defence are the main topics for the meeting today. Then I am ready to take your questions.

Question: Is the absence of the Hungarian President in any way a warning sign or is it just a coincidence that the somewhat Pro-Russian president is not there?

NATO Secretary General: I leave it to Hungary to comment on that decision. What matters to me is that I expect all NATO Allies to agree on the way forward, both when it comes to further strengthening our deterrence and defence over the last years – also with the support of Hungary. We have implemented the biggest reinforcement of our collective defence.

And let there be no doubt, NATO is there to protect all Allies against any threat. And all Allies over the last years have also agreed to provide significant support to Ukraine and I expect that when we meet in Washington at the NATO Summit, NATO Allies will agree to give NATO a stronger role in coordinating support, but also agree on a long-term financial commitment. So for me what matters is that all Allies agree to make that decisions and I expect that this will be the case also on the Washington summit.

Question: inaudible.

NATO Secretary General: Well NATO and NATO Allies have made it clear from the beginning that we are ready to support Ukraine and NATO Allies have provided unprecedented support to Ukraine. But NATO Allies have also made it clear that we will not be party to the conflict. Meaning that we are helping Ukraine with ammunition or with training with military equipment.

And I urge Allies to sustain and step up that support and I’m confident that Allies will agree to do so. But at the same time NATO has not sent in combat troops. We are not part to the conflict. You need to remember what this is. This is a war of aggression. Russia attacked another country, attacked Ukraine. And Ukraine has according to international law, the right to defend itself. And we have the right to help Ukraine uphold the right to self-defence and we will do that in ways that doesn’t make NATO Allies a part to the conflict.

Question: inaudible.

NATO Secretary General: Well, I will be in Budapest tomorrow and will meet with Prime Minister Viktor Orban. That’s part of my task as Secretary General of NATO is to travel around NATO capitals and to meet NATO leaders and to ensure that we are able to agree as we have done at every NATO Summit over the last years and we will continue to do.

So I look forward to going to Budapest to sit down and discuss the agenda for the NATO Summit. That includes support for Ukraine and also how to further strengthen our deterrence and defense and then I will then meet the press tomorrow and I can tell you more about the meeting after we met.

Question: inaudible.

NATO Secretary General: I’m confident that NATO Allies will agree at the NATO summit. We have a defense ministerial meeting this week. I expect the NATO Allies will agree there too on the way forward, on the important decisions, both on deterrence and defence and Ukraine and I also expect that when we meet in Washington, we will agree on the way forward. So it’s not for me to comment on the B9, because I’m a guest here but I will be able to tell you exactly what we agree as NATO Allies.

Question: inaudible.

NATO Secretary General: NATO Allies are providing support to Ukraine in different ways. And again, we need to understand what this is: Russia has attacked Ukraine. Ukraine has the right to self-defence, and the right to self-defence includes the right to attack legitimate military targets on the territory of the aggressor. Russia is the aggressor that has attacked.

And especially now when Russia has opened a new front in the north in the Kharkiv region. They are launching attacks directly from Russian territory into Ukraine, with missiles, with artillery, with airstrikes. And of course, if Ukraine was not allowed to repel those attacks, by firing back on the batteries that are attacking Ukraine directly from Russian territory, then it will be the same as to ask Ukraine to defend themselves with one hand tied on their back. So this is about self-defence.

MIL Security OSI