Monday, 27 March, 2023

NATO declares ‘resolute’ in supporting Ukraine

BRUSSELS: NATO on Friday declared itself resolute in its support of Ukraine and said Russia's efforts to break the resolve of the brave people of Ukraine are failing, reports AFP.

In a statement issued one year after Russia's invasion, NATO also said that Russia must immediately end its illegal war which was impacting global food and energy supplies, and demanded Moscow answer for its war crimes.

The Western military alliance said We are further stepping up political and practical support to Ukraine as it defends itself against Russia's invasion, and will maintain our support for as long as necessary to help Ukraine prevail.

Russia, it said, bears full responsibility for this war, which it said was in violation of the UN Charter and Moscow's international commitments.

Russia has not shown any genuine openness to a just and lasting peace, the statement said.

We remain determined to maintain coordinated international pressure on Russia. We also condemn all those, including Belarus, who are actively facilitating Russia's war.

That last point also pointed to Iran, which has supplied Russia with strike drones.

It could also encompass China, after US concerns were echoed by NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg this week that Beijing could be planning to provide weapons to Russia for its war.

The NATO statement warned that there can be no impunity for Russian war crimes and other atrocities.

It also stressed that its commitment to NATO's founding treaty -- which includes an Article 5 mutual defence clause valid for all NATO member countries -- is stronger and more united than ever.

We remain ready to defend every inch of Allied territory... against all threats and challenges, it said.

While Article 5 does not extend to Ukraine, which is not part of NATO, it does cover neighbouring countries such as Poland, Romania and Lithuania.

The NATO statement also noted that Finland -- which borders Russia -- and Sweden were on a path to join the alliance in reaction to Mosow's invasion of Ukraine.

And it said we will continue to strengthen our partnership with Ukraine as it advances its Euro-Atlantic aspirations, expressed principally through its candidate status to join the European Union.