NATO to activate defense forces after Russia invasion of Ukraine, says peace in Europe ‘shattered’

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg spoke out against Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine and provided some details of how the organization plans to combat any threat to member states.

During a news conference Thursday morning, Stoltenberg said the North Atlantic Council decided to activate their defense plans so they can send NATO forces to wherever they are needed.

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“NATO’s core task is to protect and defend all allies. There must be no room for miscalculation or misunderstanding,” Stoltenberg said.

The secretary general said they are deploying forces “on land, at sea, and in the air,” including thousands of troops, at least 120 allied ships, and more than 100 jets “on high alert, protecting our air space.”

“We will continue to do whatever is necessary to shield the alliance from aggression,” he said.

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“Peace cannot be taken for granted. Freedom and democracy are contested by authoritarian regimes,” Stoltenberg declared.

“We will protect our people and our values. Democracy will always prevail over autocracy. Freedom will always prevail over oppression,” he said.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference after a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Tuesday, Feb.  22, 2022.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference after a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022.
(AP Photo / Olivier Matthys)

Ukraine, however, is not a NATO member, and Stoltenberg made clear that while the country is considered “a highly-valued partner,” NATO will not be getting directly involved within the country.

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“There are no NATO troops at all inside Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said, adding that “we do not have any plans to put NATO troops in Ukraine.”

Stoltenberg spoke sternly against Russia and did not downplay the gravity of the situation.

“Peace in our continent has been shattered,” he said, calling the Russian invasion “a brutal act of war” and “a deliberate, cold-blooded, and long-planned invasion.”

Stoltenberg accused Russia of “using force to try to rewrite history,” stating that “the Kremlin’s aim is to reestablish its sphere of influence… and subvert the values ​​that we hold dear.”

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He called on Russia “to immediately cease” their military actions, but when asked about holding talks with the Kremlin, he said that is not currently an option.

“Russia has shut the door to a political solution. We regret that, but that is sadly the reality,” he said.

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