NATO head says Russia will pay ‘heavy price’ for aggression against Ukraine

NATO Foreign Ministers Summit in Riga
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during the NATO Foreign Ministers summit in Riga, Latvia December 1, 2021. REUTERS / Ints Kalnins

December 1, 2021

By Mark Bendeich

LONDON (Reuters) – ATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned Russia against using force against neighboring Ukraine on Wednesday and told Reuters Moscow knew it would pay a heavy price through sanctions and steps. the West’s move toward any aggression.

Ukraine, a former Soviet republic that now aspires to join the European Union and NATO, has become the main focal point between Russia and the West as relations have soured to their worst in three decades. when the Cold War ended.

“We’ve all said very clearly that there will be a heavy price to pay and sanctions are one of the options,” Stoltenberg said in an interview at the next Reuters conference.

Russia says it has no intention of invading Ukraine.

“I think it is clear that Russia already knows that it will pay a higher price,” Stoltenberg added.

The head of NATO said new economic sanctions against Russia – which the EU and US, along with Britain and Canada could impose – are a powerful tool.

President Vladimir Putin has said that Russia will be forced to act if US-led NATO places missiles in Ukraine that can hit Moscow within minutes.

Stoltenberg said the public is aware that allies provide military support to Ukraine and that this is a defensive action and is consistent with all of the allies’ international obligations. Ukraine is considered a close partner of NATO, but is not yet a member of the 30-nation Western alliance.


Stoltenberg denied that the alliance was provoking Moscow with military exercises in the Black Sea, and blamed Russia for using the military exercises as a pretense to attack neighboring countries. .

In contrast to Russia, NATO has always adhered to rules about inviting foreign observers to its exercises, said Stoltenberg, a former Norwegian prime minister who is leaving NATO’s top post at the end of next year. , said. He declined to comment on the search for a successor.

“The problem with Russia is that they are not transparent, that they have very aggressive rhetoric and the track record shows that they have used military exercises as a cover-up for their actions,” he said. aggression against neighboring countries”.

Stoltenberg said that the Western alliance was working closely to defend its allies against new Chinese and Russian missiles that could reach Europe and North America.

“Russia, but also China, is currently investing heavily in nuclear-capable systems that can reach all NATO countries,” Stoltenberg said.

“That’s something we have to take very seriously,” he added, citing Russian investment in long-range, high-speed, controllable missiles.

To watch the next Reuters conference, please register here

(Additional reporting by Robin Emmott, John Chalmers, Sabine Siebold in Brussels; Editing by Alexander Smith) NATO head says Russia will pay ‘heavy price’ for aggression against Ukraine


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