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.