Ukraine is not a member of NATO, and therefore the US-led bloc cannot guarantee that it would fight on its behalf in case of Russian military aggression, its Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday.
Speaking at a press conference in Latvia, where he is visiting for a meeting of NATO foreign ministers, the former Norwegian prime minister emphasized that Ukraine is just a partner and the terms of the bloc’s agreement state that it goes to war to defend its own members.
“We must understand the difference between a NATO ally, for example, Latvia, Poland, and Romania, and a close and highly valued partner [such as] Ukraine, for which we provide support, training capacity, equipment,” he explained, pointing out that there is no obligation for the bloc to protect Kiev.
Stoltenberg’s comments come amid increasing fears over alleged military buildup on the Russia-Ukraine border. Suggestions of a possible armed conflict have been pushed by a number of Western media outlets, including America’s CBS News, which reported that a military incursion is increasing in likelihood “as the weather gets colder.”
Earlier this month, Stoltenberg suggested that Moscow had arranged a “large and unusual concentration” of troops and equipment near the frontier, and warned that “any further provocation or aggressive actions” would be of serious concern.
All suggestions that Russia wants to invade Ukraine have been denied by the Kremlin, which has consistently stated that troop movements within Russian borders are no business of foreign countries.
“The very allegations that Russia is going to attack someone, and accusations that Russia is somehow being aggressive, are completely groundless,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday.
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