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NATO stepping up support to Ukraine - statement

NATO countries "remain determined to maintain coordinated international pressure on Russia

BRUSSELS, February 24. /TASS/. NATO will maintain its support to Ukraine for as long as necessary, the bloc said in a statement on Friday, marking one year of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine.

"We are further stepping up political and practical support to Ukraine as it defends itself against Russia’s invasion, and will maintain our support for as long as necessary to help Ukraine prevail. In this context, NATO will continue to coordinate closely with relevant stakeholders, including international organizations, in particular the EU, as well as like-minded countries," the statement reads.

NATO countries "remain determined to maintain coordinated international pressure on Russia." They "are significantly strengthening our deterrence and defense posture" and "remain ready to defend every inch of Allied territory."

"Our commitment to the Washington Treaty, including Article 5, is iron-clad. NATO is stronger and more united than ever. We have welcomed the choice of Finland and Sweden to become members of NATO and reaffirmed our commitment to NATO’s Open Door policy," the statement said.

"We will continue to strengthen our partnership with Ukraine as it advances its Euro-Atlantic aspirations. We are also further strengthening our other partnerships, including by assisting those countries most exposed to Russia’s malign influence," the bloc added.