17 Dec 2021 11:31 a.m.
As tensions between Russia and US-led NATO continue to rise, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has stated that it does not matter what Russia wants about other nations’ membership in the organization and that NATO will expand, wherever she wants.
NATO expansion will continue – whether Russia likes it or not. The general secretary of the US-led bloc, Jens Stoltenberg, has said that despite Moscow’s objections, his organization poses no threat.
At a press conference on December 16, Stoltenberg addressed the possibility of Ukrainian membership, which Kiev had pushed for but which Russian President Vladimir Putin called the “red line”.
The former Norwegian Prime Minister said that the decision on whether Ukraine will join NATO rests with member states and the bloc’s leadership and that Moscow should not have any influence on that decision. He also stressed that NATO was already providing military support to the Eastern European nation. Stoltenberg explained:
“The NATO countries are already training and consulting with Ukrainian troops. They are conducting joint exercises and providing military supplies and technology. NATO’s support for Ukraine poses no threat to Russia.”
Stoltenberg added that a possible partnership with Ukraine would be the main item on the agenda of the upcoming NATO summit in Madrid in June 2022. When asked if the block will continue to grow, he said:
“NATO is continuing the process of enlargement. We have already taken over Montenegro and North Macedonia, despite protests from Russia.”
He assured that NATO would not compromise with Moscow. Russia had previously asked NATO to reconsider its 2008 promise to take up Ukraine and Georgia “in time”.
The official stressed that he wanted to have a substantial dialogue with Russia. However, the Kremlin has stated that this has been practically impossible since NATO expelled a group of Russian diplomats from Brussels in October, thereby closing Moscow’s permanent mission to the organization.
After a virtual meeting with Putin earlier this month, US President Joe Biden also called for talks to ease tensions between NATO and Russia. Bloomberg had reported that several Eastern European members of the military bloc were dissatisfied with Biden’s proposal because they feared that the US head of government would be willing to make concessions that would “restrict NATO’s freedom of movement,” as an anonymous diplomat put it.
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