by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with the Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz
It is great to be back in Berlin.
And thank you for your warm welcome.
I want to thank you for your leadership and your strong commitment to our Alliance.
It is important that we consult today, just a week before our extraordinary NATO summit in Brussels.
Germany is at the heart of Europe.
And at the heart of our transatlantic alliance.
Your leadership is even more important now, at this defining moment for European security.
President Putin’s war against Ukraine has shattered peace, and shocked the world.
We pay tribute to the brave Ukrainian people and their armed forces.
Their courage and determination are an inspiration to us all.
And we continue to help them uphold their right to self-defence, enshrined in the UN Charter.
I commend Germany for providing Ukraine with many different types of support – military, financial, and humanitarian.
And you have already welcomed more than 120,000 refugees to your country.
Demonstrating Germany’s generosity and solidarity.
NATO has a responsibility to prevent this conflict from escalating further.
That would be even more dangerous.
And would cause more suffering, death and destruction.
This is President Putin’s war.
He must stop the war.
Withdraw his forces.
And engage in diplomacy in good faith.
I welcome your personal efforts, Chancellor Scholz, to find a diplomatic solution.
Including your direct contacts with President Putin.
He is paying a high price.
Severe sanctions are harming his war machine.
And I thank Germany for the important role you are playing in enforcing international sanctions.
Germany is also stepping up to help protect and defend other NATO Allies.
With more troops in Lithuania, fighter jets in Romania and ships on patrol.
This is part of NATO’s swift, decisive, and united response to this fundamentally changed security environment.
With hundreds of thousands of Allied forces on high alert.
And around 40,000 troops under direct NATO command.
Backed by major air and naval power.
Yesterday, defence ministers started considering what we must do to reinforce our defence and deterrence for the longer-term.
This will require major increases to defence investment.
And Germany is leading the way.
Let me commend you for your political courage and determination.
To commit to investing more than 2 percent of GDP in defence, starting this year.
I also strongly welcome your government’s decision to invest in fifth-generation aircraft.
This is a historic turning point for European security.
And we cannot take peace and security for granted.
Europe and North America must continue to stand together in NATO.
To protect our peace, our freedom, and our values.
So Chancellor Scholz, dear Olaf, thank you once again.
I look forward to our discussions.