Secretary general: NATO willing to listen to Russia, won’t ‘compromise on core principles’

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday said that the alliance was willing to sit down with Russia to discuss security concerns as its military buildup along the Ukrainian border continues but stated the alliance would not “compromise on core principles.”

Speaking at a press conference at NATO headquarters, Stoltenberg maintained that a diplomatic path to a resolution with Russia was still being pursued, characterizing recent security deployments near the region as “proportionate” and “not threatening.”

“We also invite Russia to continue our dialogue because we are ready to engage in good faith, in the effort to find a political solution. We are ready to listen to the Russian security concerns,” said Stoltenberg. “But we will not compromise on the right for every nation to choose its own path.”

Russia has amassed around 100,000 troops at the Ukrainian border, and the U.S. has warned that Russia may invade Ukraine in the next few months. Amid the heightened tensions, Russia has demanded assurances that NATO will halt its eastward expansion and guarantee that Ukraine will never be admitted as a member, demands that the U.S. has deemed to be nonstarters.

Stoltenberg told reporters on Monday that NATO was prepared to discuss “arms control transparency and the security situation in Europe” with Russia, but stated, “We are not ready to discuss core principles for European security.”

NATO on Monday announced its allies were sending ships and fighter jets to the region to support its air-policing mission. Denmark, Spain and the Netherlands will all be sending forces to the region while countries including France and the U.S. are considering increasing their military presence in Eastern Europe.

“I welcome Allies contributing additional forces to NATO. NATO will continue to take all necessary measures to protect and defend all Allies, including by reinforcing the eastern part of the Alliance. We will always respond to any deterioration of our security environment, including through strengthening our collective defence,” Stoltenberg said in a statement.

Tags Jens Stoltenberg Post-Soviet conflicts Russia–NATO relations

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