Unity, unity, unity in the face of the war in Ukraine. All attendees of the meeting have said it upon entering the NATO headquarters. This was said by the Spanish minister, José Manuel Albares, who spoke of “seamless unity”. This was said by the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, who pointed out that “transatlantic unity is more important than ever”. This was also affirmed by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who referred to the “importance of the US remaining united in strategic solidarity within NATO.” And the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has sentenced: “We are not looking for conflict. But if a conflict comes to us, we are prepared for it, and we will defend every inch of NATO territory.”
The foreign ministers of the 30 members of the Atlantic Alliance meet this Friday morning at NATO headquarters. After lunch, the EU will take the opportunity to meet a Council of Foreign Affairs with the presence of Blinken and the British Liz Truss, who sits down with the European partners for the first time since Brexit.
“The world has changed a lot in recent weeks,” Borrell acknowledged: “This is the time to speak out, to stand up, in which transatlantic unity is more important than ever. We have decided on an unprecedented package of sanctions that will greatly harm the Russian economy, and we are also supporting Ukraine’s right to defend itself. On the other hand, I think it is important to launch the Moscow mechanism [de la OSCE] and send a mission to see what are the acts that can be considered war crimes.
“It is the moment in which we have to be united, it is a critical moment in the history of Europe”, Borrell has sentenced. What do you expect from NATO? “A strong unity and being ready to act. The important thing is to maintain the unity of the member states of the European Union around the sanctions, and to maintain the unity on how to provide weapons to Ukraine. It is the first time that we have participated in an operation Thus, it is time for the European Union to be not only more united, but also more effective”.
In relation to what else the EU can do, such as unhooking itself from Russian gas, Borrell has responded: “We will consider everything. A week ago we told you that everything was on the table and it has been seen that everything was on the table due to decisions we have made that no one expected. So everything is left on the table. Everything.”
The Secretary General of NATO, for his part, has insisted that “NATO is not part of the conflict, it is a defensive alliance.”
“We are not looking for war with Russia,” Stoltenberg said, “at the same time, we must ensure that there are no misunderstandings about our commitment to defend and protect all of our allies. Therefore, we have increased the presence of NATO in the eastern part of the Alliance. This is a defensive presence, and I welcome the strong commitment of the United States with more troops.”
US Secretary of State Blinken, for himself, explained that “all allies in one way or another are coming to the aid of Ukraine and are helping to strengthen NATO itself. Ours is a defensive alliance. We do not seek conflict But if a conflict comes to us, we are prepared for it. And we will defend every inch of NATO territory, at the same time that we are preparing for the future of NATO.”
In this sense, Blinken has recognized that the invasion of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, over Ukraine, is already influencing the future of the Alliance, “particularly with a view to the NATO summit in a few months [en Madrid], and in drafting a new strategic concept. But the only common denominator that we find, and that is the strength of everything we do, is the unity of this Alliance.”
“Spain’s position is one of seamless unity in Spain, between the EU partners and the Atlantic allies”, said the Spanish Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares, upon arrival at the meeting of Foreign Ministers in NATO.
Asked if NATO should intervene in the war in Ukraine, Albares replied: “Those are things that we have to discuss within with our colleagues. Once again, we don’t have to do anything to escalate. This is Putin’s war. He he is the only one who wants war. Neither NATO, nor the European allies, nor the Ukrainians themselves, nor the Ukrainian government want war. What we want is peace in our lives.”
Has the EU changed now? Has Spain changed? Has Germany changed? “We have not changed”, Albares replied: “We continue to promote peace and stability. That is the source of our prosperity and our way of life. We are adapting to new threats, without a doubt, and we will respond to those threats to continue promoting and ensuring peace and stability in Europe”.
Albares explained that on Thursday night he spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart, Dimitris Kuleba: “He explained to me the threat that was occurring at the nuclear power plant by Russian and Chechen forces. We cannot allow citizens to live in anguish. These are things that were out of the minds of Europeans for decades. We cannot allow this to happen again. Europe is an organization created to ensure peace. NATO is a defensive alliance. We have to be united without any fissure between us, as we have been until now to ensure peace throughout Europe.