NATO stands united in its assist for Ukraine and strengthening the alliance’s collective protection in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Secretary of Protection Lloyd J. Austin III mentioned in the present day at NATO headquarters.
Europe is dealing with its largest safety problem since World Warfare II on account of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions, which embrace the latest “merciless assaults on civilian targets” in Ukraine, Austin mentioned on the conclusion of a two-day ministerial.
Austin thanked the allies and companions which have stepped as much as present help to Ukraine.
“At this time this proud alliance of free nations stands collectively to sentence Russia’s unlawful and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine,” he mentioned. “Putin thought he may simply conquer his peaceable neighbor, but the Kremlin’s warfare of alternative is now in its eighth month.”
Within the face of this problem, the alliance has by no means been extra unified and resolute, he mentioned.
“NATO has responded robustly and decisively to Russia’s imperial invasion, and our willpower to guard each inch of NATO territory is unwavering,” the secretary mentioned.
Allies have positioned tens of hundreds of troops beneath direct NATO command, together with vital air and naval belongings, to guard in opposition to Russian aggression, he mentioned.
Austin reiterated that NATO poses no hurt to Russia.
“NATO continues to clarify that we’ll not be dragged into Russia’s warfare of alternative. However we’ll stand by Ukraine because it fights to defend itself,” he instructed a information convention.
Over the two-day ministerial, the members mentioned progress because the NATO summit in Madrid earlier this 12 months. They mentioned Ukraine’s pressing and long-term wants, the impacts of the invasion on broader safety, and efforts to deal with the essential concern of ammunition stockpiles and protection business capability.
“I am assured that our work right here will assist be certain that our allies preserve credible deterrence and protection whereas we proceed our steadfast assist of the courageous residents of Ukraine,” he mentioned.
Ministers from Finland and Sweden attended the NATO assembly as invitees. Austin described the choice for these nations to use to be members as a “historic step” and advisable allies ratify these protocols for accession as quickly as doable.
Austin famous the significance of the alliance, saying President Joe Biden’s newly launched Nationwide Safety Technique underscores the significance of NATO and dealing with like-minded allies and companions.
NATO Secretary Normal Jens Stoltenberg and Austin appeared collectively for a press look earlier Thursday and highlighted NATO’s assist to Ukraine and alliance safety.
“We stand united as allies and in solidarity with Ukraine,” Stoltenberg mentioned.
“I welcome the unprecedented assist the US has delivered to Ukraine but additionally the unprecedented assist that European Allies, Canada and companions are offering to Ukraine,” Stoltenberg mentioned.
Austin and the NATO secretary basic voiced their assist for the United Nations Normal Meeting’s condemnation Wednesday of Russia’s “tried unlawful annexation” of 4 Ukrainian areas.
As well as, Austin famous the US is “completely dedicated” to the collective protection of the alliance beneath NATO’s Article 5 commitments, wherein an assault in opposition to one member is taken into account an assault in opposition to all.
“We’re dedicated to defending each inch of NATO territory if and relating to that,” he mentioned, describing NATO because the “important discussion board” for session, resolution making and motion relating to safety of a area and transatlantic safety.