Wednesday, December 7

NATO: “Ukraine will one day be a member of the Alliance”

“Ukraine will one day be a member of the Alliance.” The Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, has verbalized in an interview with a German media, one of the greatest wishes of the Ukrainian president, Volodímir Zelensky, and, also, one of the greatest fears of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Thus, the Norwegian has pointed out: “The doors of NATO remain open, and Ukraine will one day be a member of the Alliance. But in the short term, the priority is to support Ukraine to enable them to win more battlefield victories and to ensure that we can end the war in a way that ensures that Ukraine remains a sovereign and independent nation in Europe. That is a precondition for any accession discussion.”

The Norwegian also pointed out the differences between the Ukraine process and that of Sweden and Finland, which are about to join NATO, in the absence of the Turkish parliamentary process: “Ukraine is in a different position. Sweden and Finland are long-standing NATO partners. There is a consensus in the Alliance to invite them to become members. We made that decision at the Madrid summit in May. What we see in Ukraine is an ongoing war, and therefore the main priority is to provide military support to Ukraine, military support that is unprecedented and that really helps the Ukrainians to make progress on the battlefield. Of course, victories on the battlefield are something that belongs to the brave Ukrainian soldiers. But without the support of NATO allies, they would not have been able to make these gains or push back the invading Russian forces as we have seen in recent weeks.”

Since NATO opened the door to Ukraine in 2008, the situation has been evolving, says Stoltenberg: “In 2014 Russia annexed Crimea and controlled the eastern part of Donbas. Since then, the main focus has been on providing military support to Ukraine and NATO allies: the US, UK and Canada have trained and equipped Ukrainian forces since 2014, and that has ensured that the Ukrainian armed forces Forces are much larger, much better trained, better led, better equipped, and this is making a big difference on the battlefield.”

What if Russia uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine? “When it comes to any use of nuclear weapons against Ukraine, I am not going to describe exactly what the response will be like. That will depend on the type of attack in the context of any use of nuclear weapons. The main goal is, of course, to prevent that from happening. And that is also why we are sending clear messages to Russia about the dire consequences of nuclear war so clearly. And also, why do we monitor what Russia does so closely, especially now that it seems to have a nuclear exercise?

China and Taiwan

Faced with a hypothetical Chinese attack on Taiwan, an island that Beijing considers part of its territory while Taipei claims its own state, Stoltenberg avoids giving clues as to how NATO would react: “I am not going to describe exactly how NATO will respond. What we have clearly said is that China poses a challenge to our values, our interests and our security. And that’s because China is now investing heavily in new modern military capabilities, also long-range missiles, nuclear weapons.”

The Norwegian insists: “We see how China does not share our values, represses democratic voices and also how they coerce the countries of the region. All of this makes it important for us to address China’s rise, not by isolating China, but by engaging with China.”