Speaking after a meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Brussels, Belgium, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the war in Ukraine is entering a critical phase. “If Russia stops fighting, there will be peace. If Ukraine stops fighting, it will cease to exist as an independent nation. So we must stay the course for Ukraine’s sake and for ours.”
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken agreed. “We’ve come out of the NATO Summit with a new Strategic Concept. We’ve faced Russian aggression in Ukraine. We’ve done it together,” he said.
“Our unity here at NATO, across our alliances and partnerships at the United Nations and other international institutions, is essential to advancing our objectives – shared objectives of supporting Ukraine’s capacity to defend itself, sustaining pressure on Russia for its aggression, ensuring that Ukraine is in the strongest position when conditions are ripe for negotiations."
To that end, Secretary Blinken announced more than $2.8 billion in additional security assistance to Ukraine and also for its neighbors.
“That support includes $675 million in new military aid to Ukraine. This is part of the twentieth drawdown of military equipment that President Biden has initiated, going back before the Russian aggression," said Blinken. "It includes more guided multiple launch rocket systems, artillery ammunition, high-speed anti-radiation missiles, anti-tank systems. The twentieth drawdown now totals $14.7 billion.”
Part of this sum will help our European allies and partners to start the process of preparing to deter and, if necessary, defend against further Russian aggression in the years to come.
“President Putin thought that he would divide and weaken NATO. Today, the Alliance is stronger, more unified, better resourced than ever before.”
That said, Secretary Blinken insisted that “Diplomacy is the only way to definitively end Russia’s war of aggression. We see in this moment no indication from Russia that it would be prepared to seriously pursue such diplomacy, but if and when that time comes, Ukraine has to be in the strongest possible position,” said Secretary Blinken.
“And that’s why it’s so vital that we stay the course, that we stay united – united in support of Ukraine, united with our allies and partners, united for as long as it takes.”