NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: UKRAINE AND THE 30 ALLIES WILL DECIDE WHEN UKRAINE JOINS NATO. RUSSIA HAS NO VETO. RUSSIA HAS NO SAY
Dec 1, 2021
Speaking at a press conference following the meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated, “You know, just the question is reflecting something, which I think we should be very much aware of, that is not acceptable. And that is that Russia has a sphere of influence. They try to re-establish some kind of acceptance that Russia has the right to control what neighbours do, or not do.
And that’s the kind of world we don’t want to return to, where big powers had a say, or a kind of right, to put limitations of what sovereign, independent nations can do. I, myself, I’m coming from a small country bordering Russia. And I’m very glad that our NATO Allies have never respected that Russia has the kind of right to establish a sphere of influence in the North, trying to decide what Norway, as a small, independent country can do or not do.
And that’s exactly the same for Ukraine. Ukraine is an independent, sovereign nation with internationally recognised borders, guaranteed by Russia and all the other powers. And those borders, those internationally recognised borders should be respected. And that includes, of course, Crimea as part of Ukraine, and Donbas as part of Ukraine. So this idea that NATO’s support to a sovereign nation is the provocation, is just wrong. It’s to respect the sovereignty of, the will of, the Ukrainian people.
So I think that tells more about Russia than about NATO. NATO is a defensive Alliance. NATO is not a threat to anyone, but NATO respects the decision of countries like the Baltic countries, Poland, when they decided to join. And we will also respect the decision of Ukraine, that they aspire for NATO membership. We have stated that they will become a member, but of course, it’s up to us, 30 NATO Allies, to decide when Ukraine is ready for membership, when they meet the NATO standards. We help them on their way towards membership with reforms, with support, with fighting corruption, with building defence and security institutions.
And the message is that it is only Ukraine and 30 NATO Allies that decide when Ukraine is ready to join NATO. Russia has no veto. Russia has no say. And Russia has no right to establish a sphere of influence, trying to control their neighbours.”