NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg calls Ukraine ‘a valued and long-standing partner’ following NATO-Ukraine Commission meeting

10 January 2022, 01:48 PM

The Jan. 10 NATO-Ukraine Commission meeting marks “the start of an important week for European security,” and would be an opportunity to coordinate ahead of diplomatic engagement with Russia, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said, news agency Interfax-Ukraine reported.

Stoltenberg called Ukraine “a valued and long-standing NATO partner” ahead of a week of diplomatic engagements, including bilateral talks between the United States and Russia in Geneva on Jan. 10, a meeting of the NATO-Russia council on Jan.12, and a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe with Russia on Jan.13.

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Stoltenberg expressed his belief that the NATO-Ukraine Commission meeting is “an opportunity to exchange assessments; to express the allies’ strong support for Ukraine, and to coordinate ahead of diplomatic engagements with Moscow.”

On Friday, NATO foreign ministers reiterated their demand that Russia withdraw its troops from Ukraine’s borders, be transparent, and de-escalate the situation, said Stoltenberg.

It is estimated that more than 100,000 Russian troops are currently deployed near the Russian-Ukrainian border and in the Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine, according to reports by Ukrainian intelligence.

Stoltenberg said that “any further aggression against Ukraine would come at a high political and economic cost.”

On Dec. 17, Russia released a list of demands it called “security guarantees”, to the United States and NATO. The demands include a retraction of the offer of possible NATO membership that the alliance made to Ukraine during the 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania.

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