NATO assessing security guarantees, including boosted military presence for interim period after Finland, Sweden apply for membership
NATO must maintain its military support for Ukraine, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday.
Secretary-General Stoltenberg spoke via video link at a joint news conference with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock following an informal meeting of NATO top diplomats in Berlin.
Stoltenberg, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week, joined the meeting remotely.
NATO foreign ministers reconfirmed the alliance’s “strong support for Ukraine,” he explained, stressing that NATO “must continue to step up and sustain our military support to Ukraine.”
According to Stoltenberg, Ukraine can win against Russia since the war “is not going as Moscow had planned.”
Besides the military defeats that it has suffered in Ukraine, Russia fails to achieve its strategic objectives in dividing NATO, he asserted.
Stoltenberg also said that the NATO foreign ministers discussed long-term reforms in the alliance’s deterrence and defense posture that reflects the “new security reality in Europe,” as well as NATO’s next strategic concept in preparation for the leaders’ summit to be held in June in Madrid.
Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership application
“If Finland and Sweden apply to join NATO, that will be a historic moment for Europe,” Stoltenberg pointed out, stressing that the two new members would strengthen the “transatlantic bond” and “stability across the Euro-Atlantic area.”
He explained the alliance would “look into ways to provide security assurances” for the interim period until the countries officially become NATO members which may include “increasing NATO presence in the region, in the Baltic region, in and around Finland and Sweden.”
Stoltenberg reassured that NATO has increased its surveillance and is “ready to follow closely if Russia tries to launch any kind of cyber or hybrid attack against NATO countries” or Finland and Sweden during the interim period.
He also stressed that Turkiye is “an important ally,” and voiced confidence that NATO members would be able to reach an agreement on Ankara’s concerns on the two countries.
Turkiye recently voiced skepticism about their membership applications and heavily criticized the two countries for tolerating the PKK/YPG terror group.