“One thing is clear: together with our allies in NATO, the European Union and far beyond, we will support Ukraine in its defense, for as long as necessary, politically, economically, humanitarianly, but also with the supply of the necessary weapons”
Earlier this evening German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reaffirmed their decision to continue supporting Ukraine “as long as necessary”, rejecting at the same time the possibility of NATO involvement in the war. They also highlighted the importance of “Vladimir Putin not winning the war”, while referring to the need to protect submarine pipelines and cables, in the context of a related German-Norwegian initiative.
“One thing is clear: together with our allies in NATO, the European Union and far beyond, we will support Ukraine in its defense, for as long as necessary, politically, economically, humanitarianly, but also with the supply of the necessary weapons,” he said Mr. Soltz during the joint press conference following his meeting with Mr. Stoltenberg. “Russia must not and will not win this war. It is also clear, and we stand by it, that NATO itself will not become a party to the war,” the chancellor added, pointing out that doing so “would lead to an escalation with unforeseeable consequences for the entire planet.” “Putin is using winter as a weapon and we must not let him win.”
“At this critical juncture, our continued support for Ukraine is paramount. NATO does not take part in the war. We will not let Putin drag us into it,” Jens Stoltenberg agreed, adding that as a consequence of the war, energy and food prices have risen, but “if Putin wins, it will encourage all authoritarian leaders to use similar means, which would make the world more dangerous and all of us more vulnerable.”
Mr. Soltz also referred to the importance of NATO, which he said became even clearer with the war in Ukraine. “NATO is and remains the central guarantor of our collective security”, he underlined and expressed the belief that by the next Alliance summit Sweden and Finland will have joined it. Regarding Germany’s stance within NATO, the chancellor assured of his country’s commitment to every ally and to every threat, “without ifs and buts”.
Olaf Solz repeated tonight the idea developed jointly with the Norwegian government, for the creation of a special NATO mechanism with the object of protecting submarine pipelines and cables. “NATO can be the point of contact here to coordinate efforts and create a common framework of action” for allies and coastal states, with military, police, coast guard and private infrastructure operators, he explained. Jens Stoltenberg, for his part, welcomed the initiative of the two allies and emphasized that “the recent acts of sabotage against the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines made us all aware of the vulnerable nature of these infrastructures.”
Responding to a question about the possibility of deploying Patriot systems in Poland, which Germany has already indicated it is willing to provide, the NATO Secretary General clarified that the dialogue with the Polish government is ongoing, while separating the specific issue from air defense already provided by the Alliance to Poland, which he said must be ensured to be working effectively.
Mr Scholz, asked about reports that the German armed forces are facing serious ammunition shortages, admitted that “we have been on the wrong track in recent decades” and assured that Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht “is absolutely committed to trying to eliminate these of mistakes”.
The NATO Secretary General also referred to China’s position in the international security environment, when asked to comment on Berlin-Beijing economic relations. “China is a challenge to our security, our interests and our values, but we do not see it as an adversary and that is our strategic understanding,” Stoltenberg said, while acknowledging that there are also vulnerabilities in relations with Beijing. . “As members of the Alliance, we must therefore set the guidelines for our dealings with China, be aware of this potential threat, control dependencies and risks. Because ultimately, each member of the Alliance must find a balance between doing business with China and not being overly dependent economically on trade with China. So it is ultimately a German decision, as it is a decision of the other members of the alliance,” concluded Jens Stoltenberg.
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