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NATO chief Stoltenberg calls for summit with Russia in early 2022

by Illia PonomarenkoDecember 21, 2021 7:56 pm
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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (R) and President Volodymyr Zelensky hold a joint press conference after a meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Dec. 16, 2021. (NATO)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has called for a new meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in early 2022 to establish a dialogue regarding the Kremlin’s ongoing threat of full-fledged war against Ukraine.

Stoltenberg made the statement on Dec. 21 during his Brussels meeting with newly-appointed Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca. 

The two discussed the security situation on the Ukrainian-Russian border, where Moscow has deployed nearly 100,000 troops in what many see as a threat of a full-scale invasion.

The NATO-Russia Council was established in 2002, but then halted following the Kremlin’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea in early 2014. Brief contacts between the sides’ militaries were partially resumed after 2017 on the security situation in Syria and Iraq.

“Despite international calls for transparency and de-escalation, the (Russian) build-up continues,” Stoltenberg said. 

“We have made clear that any further aggression against Ukraine would carry a very high price. We will also continue to support our close partner Ukraine, politically and practically. And we stand up for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and we stand also for Ukraine’s right to choose its own path.”

The official also said the Alliance remains ready for meaningful dialogue with Russia. 

“Any dialogue would need to be based on the core principles of European security and that it would need to take place in consultation with NATO's European partners -- including Ukraine,” he added.

On Dec. 17, Moscow suggested agreements with the West that de facto aim to reinstate its Cold War era area of exclusive influence in Eastern Europe and also prevent Ukraine from ever joining NATO.

Illia Ponomarenko
Illia Ponomarenko
Defense reporter

Illia Ponomarenko is the defense and security reporter at the Kyiv Independent. He has reported about the war in eastern Ukraine since the conflict’s earliest days. He covers national security issues, as well as military technologies, production, and defense reforms in Ukraine. Besides, he gets deployed to the war zone of Donbas with Ukrainian combat formations. He has also had deployments to Palestine and the Democratic Republic of the Congo as an embedded reporter with UN peacekeeping forces. Illia won the Alfred Friendly Press Partners fellowship and was selected to work as USA Today's guest reporter at the U.S. Department of Defense.

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