BRUSSELS, November 21. /TASS/. NATO intends to seek the continuation and stepping up of military supplies to Kiev at all costs, including air defense systems, and avoid by all means its own direct participation in the conflict, the organization’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at the 68th Annual Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Madrid, according to the live broadcast on the NATO website.
In his hour-and-a-half-long speech, he made clear that for NATO, increased military assistance to Ukraine is the answer to all questions without exception: from the future peaceful resolution of the conflict, to the response to increased Russian missile strikes on Ukrainian territory. He also acknowledged that the alliance was actively arming Kiev prior to Russia's special military operation, and expressed regret that NATO had not better armed Ukraine.
Toward the end of his speech, a tired Stoltenberg misspoke, mistaking Russia for Ukraine, but quickly corrected himself.
Ukraine received NATO arms before Russia’s special military operation
Stoltenberg explicitly acknowledged that NATO had provided significant military assistance to Ukraine and trained the Ukrainian army long before the Russian special military operation began. He also expressed regret that Ukraine did not receive even more weapons from the alliance earlier.
"If there is any lesson from Ukraine, it is that we should have supported Ukraine even more, even earlier. I’d like to praise allies that have been supporting Ukraine since 2014. NATO provided some support, some capacities, some training, but we could have done more before, before the invasion," Stoltenberg said.
NATO weapons used ‘for peace’
NATO also intends to increase military supplies to Kiev in order to achieve an "outcome acceptable to Ukraine." "We need to realize that this war most likely will end at some stage at the negotiating table. But we also know that the outcome of those negotiations are totally dependent on the strength on the battlefield," he said, adding that that was the reason why NATO must continue military support to Ukraine.
The NATO Secretary General also offered a solution to the intensification of Russian missile strikes. "We see the devastating effects of missiles in Ukraine. Many of NATO allies and partners around the world have recently made additional announcements, including NATO, [to step up] <…> winter clothing, and fuel, and all the types of supplies that enable the Ukrainians to operate throughout the winter," he said.
NATO’s involvement in Ukrainian conflict
However, NATO countries must avoid their own involvement in the military conflict by all means, so they intend to rule out a direct military confrontation with Russia, the NATO Secretary General explained to deputies.
"NATO allies and partners, and the European Union are not party to the conflict. What we do is support Ukraine’s self-defense," Stoltenberg said.
The Secretary General confessed that "The United States <…> have been there since 2014. They trained tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers".
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg misspoke and confused Russia and Ukraine after an hour and a half of discussion on the situation in Ukraine.
"No one should support Ukraine, sorry, sorry, Russia in their efforts to occupy Ukraine, no one should support Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine, and that has also been a clear message from NATO allies to China," he said.