NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg press point at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, 30 September 2022
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg condemned Russia’s attempts to annex four regions of Ukraine as “illegal and illegitimate.” Speaking to press on Friday (20 September 2022), he underlined that NATO Allies do not and will not recognise any of this territory as part of Russia. “We call on all states to reject Russia’s blatant attempts at territorial conquest,” he said.
President Putin has now claimed four more regions of Ukraine as part of Russia.
This is the largest attempted annexation of European territory by force since the Second World War.
Another 15 percent of Ukraine’s territory. An area roughly the size of Portugal. Illegally seized by Russia at gunpoint.
The sham referendums were engineered in Moscow. And imposed on Ukraine. In total violation of international law. This land grab is illegal and illegitimate.
NATO Allies do not, and will not, recognise any of this territory as part of Russia.
We call on all states to reject Russia’s blatant attempts at territorial conquest. These lands are Ukraine. Donetsk is Ukraine. Luhansk is Ukraine. Kherson is Ukraine. Zaporizhzhia is Ukraine. Just like Crimea is Ukraine.
This is the second time Russia has taken Ukrainian territory by force. But it does not change the nature of the conflict. This remains Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine.
And it does not change our commitment to support Ukraine. NATO is not party to the conflict. But we provide support to Ukraine so it can uphold its right for self-defence, enshrined in the UN Charter. Ours is a defensive Alliance.
We stand united and determined to defend and protect every NATO Ally. And every inch of Allied territory. This is a pivotal moment. Putin has mobilised hundreds of thousands of more troops. Engaged in irresponsible nuclear sabre-rattling. And now illegally annexed more Ukrainian territory. Together, this represents the most serious escalation since the start of the war. None of this shows strength. It shows weakness. It is an admission that the war is not going to plan. And that Putin has utterly failed in his strategic objectives.
Putin bears full responsibility for this war. And it is his responsibility to end it. To end the immense suffering of the brave Ukrainian people. To end the energy and food crisis that is affecting so many around the world.
If Russia stops fighting, there will be peace. If Ukraine stops fighting, it will cease to exist as an independent sovereign nation in Europe.
NATO reaffirms our unwavering support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. We remain resolute in providing support to Ukraine as it continues to defend itself against Russia’s aggression. For as long as it takes.
And with that, I am ready to take your questions.