Ukraine has right to self-defense as NATO helps it in this regard - Stoltenberg

Ukraine has right to self-defense as NATO helps it in this regard - Stoltenberg

NATO provides practical and political support to Ukraine and will continue its efforts to ensure Ukraine's right to self-defense, while Ukraine does not pose any threat to Russia's security.

This was stated by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during a press conference following the NATO-Russia Council meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

"Ukraine is a sovereign nation. Ukraine has the right to self-defense. (…)That's enshrined in the UN founding charter, and of course, some NATO Allies and NATO help them to uphold that right to self-defense," Stoltenberg said.

Read also: Moscow says no "common agenda" with NATO

He stressed that any assumption that Ukraine is a threat to Russia is an attempt to turn reality upside down, as it’s Russia who is the aggressor that has already used and continues to use military force against Ukraine.

"Ukraine is not a threat to Russia. Russia has the biggest land power in Europe. They are one of two major nuclear powers. They have invested heavily in new, modern capabilities over the last years. But not only that, Russia has used military force against Ukraine before. In 2014, they occupied and took a part of Ukraine, Crimea. And they continue to illegally occupy Crimea and they control through the separatists in eastern Ukraine, Donbas. So the whole idea that, in a way, Ukraine threatens Russia is absolutely to put the whole thing upside down. It is Russia that is the aggressor. This crisis is a making of Russia. And therefore it is important that they (Russia - ed.) de-escalate,” the NATO secretary general added.

A number of diplomatic events are taking place this week to discuss European security issues and reduce tensions over Ukraine that have been provoked by Russia.

In particular, the first round of talks between Russia and the United States took place in Geneva on Monday. The NATO-Ukraine Commission met in Brussels on the eve of the NATO-Russia Council, with the participation of Olha Stefanishyna, Vice PM for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration.

Read also: NATO calls on Russia to immediately de-escalate situation around Ukraine - Stoltenberg

On Wednesday, the security situation in Europe and around Ukraine was discussed by EU defense ministers in an informal meeting in the French city of Brest, and on Thursday, the discussion will continue with the participation of EU foreign ministers.

The current state of European security within the OSCE will also be discussed this week.


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