Stoltenberg opens Defence Ministers meeting
Brussels 16.03.2022 NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III at NATO headquarters on Wednesday 16 March 2022 ahead of an extraordinary meeting of NATO Defence Ministers.
The Secretary General praised Secretary Austin’s personal engagement, commitment, and leadership and highlighted the critical role played by the United States in responding to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including the presence of one hundred thousand US troops currently in Europe.
“We will address the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, our strong support for Ukraine, and further strengthening NATO’s deterrence and defence in response to a new reality for our security” Stoltenberg said, while announcing the Extraordinary Council. “At this critical time, North America and Europe must continue to stand together in NATO”.
NATO has repeatedly assessed Russia invasion to Ukraine as “unprovoked and unjustified”, posing a potential threat to NATO nations including Ukraine’s neighbouring Romania, Hungary, Poland and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. More than three million Ukrainian refugees have fled the country into neighbouring states since the assault began on February 24, according to the United Nations.
NATO has responded in a united and swift way, Stoltenberg continued, pointing to severe sanctions on Russia.
Meanwhile the allies provided significant support to Ukraine: military, financial and humanitarian.
Hundreds of thousands of troops on heightened alert, one hundred thousand U.S. troops in Europe, and
40,000 troops under direct NATO command, mostly in the eastern part of our Alliance,supported by naval and air forces, the Secretary General of NATO concluded.