NATO Defence Ministers Schedule Meeting to Discuss Ukraine Situation

  • Our Bureau
  • 05:27 AM, March 16, 2022
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NATO Defence Ministers Schedule Meeting to Discuss Ukraine Situation

Defence Ministers of countries that are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have scheduled a meeting on 16 March to discuss Russia’s invasion of their neighbor, Ukraine.

“(Russian) President Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine is causing death and destruction every day; it has shocked the world; and shaken the international order,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a press conference Tuesday.

The Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov will participate in tomorrow’s meeting, as will Georgia, Finland, Sweden, and the European Union.

“For many years, NATO Allies have trained tens of thousands of Ukrainian troops. Many of them are now fighting on the front lines. Allies have also provided significant quantities of critical equipment, including anti-tank and air defence weapons, drones, ammunition and fuel. Ukraine has a fundamental right to self-defence, enshrined in the UN Charter; and NATO Allies and partners will continue to help Ukraine uphold that right, by providing military equipment, and financial and humanitarian assistance,” Stoltenberg said.

He added, “There are now hundreds of thousands of forces on heightened alert across the Alliance, 100,000 U.S. troops in Europe and around 40,000 troops under direct NATO command, mostly in the eastern part of the Alliance, backed by major air and naval power as well as air defences. All of this sends an unmistakable message: an attack on one Ally will be met with a decisive response from the whole Alliance.”

When ministers meet on Wednesday, they will discuss a number of concrete measures to reinforce Allies security for the longer-term. The Secretary General said this could include “substantially more forces in the eastern part of the Alliance,” as well as major increases to air and naval deployments, strengthened air and missile defence, reinforced cyber defences, and more and larger exercises.

He underlined that this will require major increases in defence investment, and welcomed the efforts of Allies who have already announced increases.

The NATO boss has also convened an extraordinary Summit on 24 March at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

Ukraine Not Interested in Joining NATO?

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said he is no longer pressing for NATO membership for his country, a delicate issue that was one of Russia's stated reasons for invading its pro-Western neighbor.

"I have cooled down regarding this question a long time ago after we understood that ... NATO is not prepared to accept Ukraine," Zelensky said in an interview aired Monday night on ABC News. "The alliance is afraid of controversial things, and confrontation with Russia.”

Moscow has said it does not want Kyiv to join transatlantic alliance created at the start of the Cold War to protect Europe from the Soviet Union. In more recent years, NATO has expanded further and further east to take in former Soviet bloc countries, something the Kremlin sees as a threat.

Ukraine’s capital Kyiv under fire as NATO leaders Visit

Russian airstrikes hit Kyiv early on Tuesday, forcing the city to enter a 36-hour curfew. Slovak PM Janez Janša, Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki, Polish deputy PM for security and the leader of the conservative ruling party Jaroslaw Kaczynski, and Czech PM Petr Fiala arrived in the Ukrainian capital on Tuesday to meet President Zelenskyy.

“The aim of the visit is to express the EU's unequivocal support for Ukraine and its freedom and independence,” Fiala tweeted.

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