For the first time, the NATO Response Force has been activated as a defensive measure in response to Russia’s invasion in Ukraine.
In his turn, NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg said last night after the extraordinary virtual summit of NATO Heads of State and Government that “Russia has shattered peace in Europe.”
“The people of Ukraine are fighting for their freedom in the face of Russia’s unprovoked invasion. We deplore the tragic loss of life, enormous human suffering and destruction. Our thoughts are with those killed, injured, and displaced.”
NATO chief asked one more time Russia to stop the war. “We call on Russia to stop this senseless war. Immediately cease its assault. Withdraw all its forces from Ukraine. And turn back to the path of dialogue. And turn away from aggression.”
According to Stoltenberg, the Kremlin’s objectives are not limited to Ukraine.
“Russia has demanded legally binding agreements to renounce further NATO enlargement. And to remove troops and infrastructure from Allies that joined after 1997.
We are facing a new normal in European security. Where Russia openly contests the European security order. And uses force to pursue its objectives.
The world will hold Russia and Belarus accountable for their actions. Russia as the aggressor. Belarus as the enabler.
President Putin’s decision to pursue his aggression against Ukraine is a terrible strategic mistake. For which Russia will pay a severe price for years to come.
NATO Allies and the European Union have already introduced significant sanctions. And many of our partners around the globe have joined us.”
The NATO leader also had a message to the Russian people: “At the same time, the Russian people must know: that the Kremlin’s war on Ukraine will not make Russia more secure. It will not make Russia more respected in the world. It will not lead to a better future for your children.”
In response to Russia’s massive military build-up over the past months, NATO hasalready strengthened our deterrence and defence, he announced, while reiterating support for Ukraine, and other countries like Moldova, Georgia,etc.
“Yesterday, NATO Allies activated our defence plans.And as a result, we are deploying elements of the NATO Response Force. On land, at sea, and in the air. To further strengthen our posture. And to respond quickly to any contingency.”
“The United States, Canada and European Allies have deployed thousands of more troops to the eastern part of the Alliance. We have over 100 jets at high alert operating in over 30 different locations. And over 120 ships from the High North to the Mediterranean. Including three strike carrier groups.”
“There must be no space for miscalculation or misunderstanding. We will do what it takes to protect and defend every Ally.
And every inch of NATO territory.”
“Leaders today also made clear that we must continue our support to Ukraine. The Kremlin is trying to make NATO and the EU provide less support to our partners. So our collective answer must be more support. To countries like Georgia, Moldova, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
To help them succeed with their democratic reforms, and pursue the path that they have freely chosen.”
Council of Europe suspends Russia’s rights of representation
In line with the Statute of the Council of Europe, the Committee of Ministers has decided on Friday to suspend the Russian Federation from its rights of representation in the Committee of Ministers and in the Parliamentary Assembly with immediate effect as a result of the Russian Federation’s armed attack on Ukraine.
The decision adopted today means that the Russian Federation remains a member of the Council of Europe and party to the relevant Council of Europe conventions, including the European Convention on Human Rights.
The judge elected to the European Court of Human Rights in respect of the Russian Federation also remains a member of the Court, and applications introduced against the Russian Federation will continue to be examined and decided by the Court.
Suspension is not a final measure but a temporary one, leaving channels of communication open.