crisis ukraineNATO continues to take an armed conflict with Russia seriously, even though they will talk again next Wednesday for the first time in 2.5 years. The alliance is happy to enter that conversation, but will not make any concessions.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said this this afternoon after an interspersed video consultation with the thirty NATO foreign ministers. The talk next week is important, as Moscow has left NATO invitations to talk unanswered since the summer of 2019. Now the Russians suddenly want to talk. This does not offer guarantees for a solution. “Diplomacy can fail,” said Stoltenberg.
He bases the undiminished threat of an armed conflict on the continued Russian troop build-up along the border with Ukraine, the increasingly fierce Russian rhetoric and previous aggression against neighboring countries, in particular Ukraine and Georgia. “Russia is still sending artillery, armed units and combat groups to the Ukrainian border,” Stoltenberg said. In combination with his previous actions and threats, that inspires little confidence, according to the NATO boss.
sphere of influence
The alliance wants to “listen to Russian concerns” in the conversation, but without making concessions. Russia demands guarantees that Ukraine can never become a NATO member and wants the country back under its own sphere of influence. NATO refuses that.
“Each country chooses its own path,” Stoltenberg said. “Previous NATO enlargements have brought stability and democracy to Europe. Russia presents it as if we countries withdraw from NATO. But it has always been decisions, in complete independence, of those countries themselves.”
A stable and democratic Ukraine is no threat to Russia, he added. Earlier this week, EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell also said that there can be no question of a return to the old spheres of influence from shortly after the Second World War: “We are not going back to Yalta.”
The consultations this afternoon were certainly also intended to prevent the United States from not involving Europe, or only indirectly, in the consultations with Russia. “America has been very clear: there is no talk of European security without Europe at the table,” Stoltenberg said. He added that NATO has 30 members, “28 European and two North American”, and praised the fact that the US administration is constantly consulting NATO, “including on bilateral talks with Russia”.
Concerns about an American accent in the talks had apparently also been raised earlier in the day at a meeting in Paris between the European Commission and the French government, which will hold the EU presidency this six months. President Macron and Commission President von der Leyen also assured afterwards that the security of Europe is a 100 percent European matter.
Watch our news videos in the playlist below:
Free unlimited access to Showbytes? Which can!
Log in or create an account and never miss a thing from the stars.
#NATO #closes #ranks #concessions #Russia #risk #armed #conflict #remains