Stoltenberg presents annual NATO report

22 March, 12:05 AM
Jens Stoltenberg (Photo:Jonas Ekstromer/TT News Agency/via REUTERS)

Jens Stoltenberg (Photo:Jonas Ekstromer/TT News Agency/via REUTERS)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg presented NATO's annual report, largely focusing on how the alliance responded to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, on March 21.

“This report summarizes the main activities of our alliance over the past year,” he said. “2022 has become a key year for our security.”

Stoltenberg said that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin made a major strategic mistake when he invaded Ukraine.

“He expected Kyiv would fall within days, and the whole of Ukraine within weeks,” said Stoltenberg.

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“But he underestimated the steely resolve of the Ukrainian people. He thought he could break NATO unity. But NATO allies are standing strong and united, and providing unprecedented support for Ukraine.”

He recalled that in response to Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine, Finland and Sweden decided to apply for NATO membership, which will effectively double NATO's border with Russia.

“Putin’s invasion last year was a shock, but it was not a surprise,” said the official.

“It was the culmination of a pattern of aggressive action.”

Stoltenberg added that in response to Russia's occupation of Crimea in 2014, NATO implemented the largest increase in collective defense “in a generation.”

According to him, when Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine, the alliance was ready.

“Within hours, we activated our defense plans; from the Baltic to the Black Sea,” he added.

Stoltenberg said that NATO is strengthening the protection of critical national infrastructure, including undersea cables and pipelines.

“We agreed a new Strategic Concept, the first in a decade,” said Stoltenberg.

“To guide our alliance in an era of strategic competition. It identifies Russia as the most significant threat to our security. Along with the ongoing threat of terrorism.”

He concluded by saying that the coming years will be challenging, and that NATO must continue to meet this challenge.

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