by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the first session of the Meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Defence Ministers’ session
Welcome to all of you and good afternoon.
And welcome to this working session of NATO Defence Ministers.
We face a dangerous moment for European security.
Russia has amassed an invasion force on the borders of Ukraine.
At the same time, there are signs from Moscow that diplomacy should continue.
This gives grounds for cautious optimism. However we have not so far seen any sign of de-escalation on the ground.
NATO is not a threat to Russia. And we remain ready to engage in dialogue and find a diplomatic way forward.
But while we continue to work for the best, we must also be prepared for the worst. We will do what is necessary to protect and defend all Allies.
We have already raised the readiness of the NATO Response Force. And Allies are putting forces on stand-by, and deploying more troops, planes and ships.
Today, we will consider how we should enhance our deterrence and defence posture.
And pursue our diplomatic efforts.
And let me now thank the media for joining us at the beginning of the meeting. And the meeting will continue in just a moment.