He said this at a press conference in Brussels on Thursday, February 3, following a meeting with Prime Minister of North Macedonia Dimitar Kovacevski, according to an Ukrinform correspondent.
"We remain ready to engage in meaningful dialogue and have conveyed our written proposals to Russia. Allies are ready to discuss NATO-Russia relations, how to reduce risks and increase transparency, and arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation [of weapons of mass destruction]. But NATO will not compromise on core principles - the right of every nation to choose its own path and NATO's ability to protect and defend all allies," Stoltenberg said.
He noted that Russia continues to build up forces around Ukraine, which includes tens of thousands of combat-ready troops, missile weapons capable of carrying nuclear weapons, anti-aircraft weapons and other modern military capabilities.
"All this will be combined with Russia's annual nuclear forces exercise expected to take place this month. NATO continues to call on Russia to de-escalate. Any further Russian aggression will have severe consequences and carry a heavy price," Stoltenberg said.