NATO and the United States will continue to support Ukraine but are also warning Russia and other actors that the alliance stands ready to face global threats.
“The world has become more dangerous, but NATO has become stronger,” Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday, flanked by U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
At a press conference in Belgium, the two men promised that NATO would remain committed to protecting Ukraine and said the co-ordination between challengers to the military alliance is raising serious concerns.
Stoltenberg said he saw no imminent threat to the alliance but should one arise, NATO is prepared. He said recent training efforts demonstrate that “there should be no room for miscalculation in Moscow about NATO’s readiness and resolves to protect all allies.”
Sullivan vowed Washington will not abandon Kyiv – despite U.S. support drying up until Congress votes through another spending bill. That process is currently gridlocked, though Stoltenberg said it is “vital” the U.S. continues to support Ukraine.
A recent poll exclusive to Global News shows a plurality, not a majority, of Canadians want Ukraine to keep fighting as Russia’s invasion hits the two-year mark, though one-third now say they think Ukraine should seek a peace deal with Russia even if it means ceding territory.
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“As allies, we’re committed not just to supporting Ukraine in the current fight, but also supporting Ukraine’s long-term deterrence capacity as it works towards becoming a NATO member,” Sullivan said.
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“(Russian President Vladimir) Putin has been counting on dividing this alliance. But today (in meetings with other NATO security leaders) we heard again total unity … that has not flagged one bit since the beginning of this brutal invasion by Russia,” he said.
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He tied any Russian success in Ukraine to the United States’ security, saying Moscow’s victory would embolden Putin as well as China, Iran and North Korea.
Stoltenberg also stated that “Iran must reign in its proxies,” referring to the Tehran-backed militias that killed American soldiers in a rocket attack last month and Houthi rebels attacking Red Sea shipping lanes.
Sullivan said NATO was looking to deepen its ties in the Pacific, in what would be a shift to balance China’s growing aggressiveness and influence in the region.
“This is not about bringing NATO to Asia, it is about working together with like-minded partners in the Indo-Pacific on challenges that really transcend geography,” he said, mentioning cybersecurity, nuclear proliferation “and, yes, the evolving interconnection between Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.”
Both men said they were pushing to modernize the organization’s “defence industrial base,” referring to the allies’ ability to produce and innovate a gamut of technology ranging from the 155 mm artillery shells Ukraine uses to drones.
“At the end of the day, there is no alternative to the United States stepping up to the plate and providing a level of resources that allows Ukraine to have the artillery, the air defence system and the other capabilities they need,” Sullivan said.
“And time is of the essence in this regard.”
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