On Friday NATO’s General Secretary, Jens Stoltenberg reinforced the alliance's support for Ukraine and assured the world that the allied forces had conveyed to Russia that it will face "serious consequences" if it uses nuclear weapons to defend the conquest of Ukrainian territories illegally taken by Vladimir Putin and his government.
"If Russia stops fighting, we will have peace. If Ukraine stops fighting, it will cease to exist as an independent and sovereign nation. NATO reaffirms its unwavering support for Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity," Stoltenberg said at a press conference scheduled a few hours after the Russian annexation ceremony, where Putin made several threats to the West.
Speaking on behalf of all 30 of the group's 30 allies, Stoltenberg says all alliance members will continue to support Ukraine and provide military equipment needed to continue defense "against Russian aggression for as long as necessary." To this end, the NATO leader underlined the adoption of a new US support package and the willingness to continue to support Ukraine by the other members.
For the alliance, Russia's illegal annexation of Ukrainian territory, which on Friday formally annexed the regions of Lugansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, along with the announcement of mobilization and nuclear rhetoric represent "the most serious escalation of the conflict."
"The inclination to use such armament, combined with dangerous nuclear speechmaking and the illegal annexation of Ukrainian territories, is the most serious escalation of the conflict since its inception. President Putin's purpose is to curb our support for Ukraine. He's not going to succeed," he said.
Asked whether the Russian army's string of military defeats on the ground could lead to a more unpredictable Russia and a more dangerous Vladimir Putin, NATO's General Secretary warned that handing over "nuclear blackmail" could set a very dangerous precedent for the Russian leader in the future.
Prof. Carl Boniface
Taken (adj) = occupied, grabbed, seized, stolen, annexed, invaded
Unwavering (adj) = firm, solid, steadfast. untiring, dogged, resolute
Willingness (n) = readiness, inclination, will, preparedness
Mobilization (n) = enlistment, deployment, positioning, implementation
Armament (n) = arming, mobilization, buildup
Blackmail (n) = extortion, intimidation, bribery, corruption, threat