by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the Meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Riga
We have just had a very good and substantive discussion among NATO’s foreign ministers.
Ministers addressed three issues:
Russia’s military build-up in and around Ukraine,
the actions by the regime in Belarus,
and NATO’s leading role in arms control.
The situation in and around Ukraine remains fluid and unpredictable.
There is no certainty about Russia’s intentions.
We see a significant and unusual concentration of forces,
which is unjustified and unexplained.
And accompanied by heightened rhetoric and disinformation.
And we know that Russia has used force before against Ukraine and other neighbours.
Today, Ministers discussed the situation.
We stand united in our aim to deter Russia from any further aggressive actions.
We call on Russia to be transparent, de-escalate and reduce tensions.
Any future Russian aggression against Ukraine would come at a high price.
And have serious political and economic consequences for Russia.
Ministers were clear that there must be no misunderstanding or miscalculation on NATO’s resolve.
We stand together to defend and protect all Allies.
We will continue to actively assess the situation and ensure we have all necessary plans in place.
At the same time, we maintain our political and practical support for our partner Ukraine.
We commend Ukraine for its measured response to Russia’s continued provocations.
And we will meet both Ukraine and Georgia tomorrow to exchange views on the current developments.
NATO’s dual-track approach to Russia remains unchanged.
We keep our defense and deterrence strong in the face of Russia’s pattern of aggressive actions.
We also believe that dialogue is vital.
Unfortunately, Russia has recently decided to cut diplomatic ties with NATO.
We call on Russia to reverse this decision.
And to re-engage in the NATO-Russia Council.
For the benefit of peace and security.
We also addressed Belarus.
And the Lukashenko regime’s use of vulnerable people to put pressure on Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania.
This is cynical and inhumane.
And NATO ministers made clear that we stand in full solidarity with the Allies affected.
NATO is also cooperating closely with the European Union to counter this hybrid campaign.
As demonstrated by my visit on Sunday to Vilnius and Riga with the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.
Foreign Ministers also discussed arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation.
This is a priority for NATO.
All NATO Allies support a world without nuclear weapons.
Since the end of the Cold War, we have significantly reduced our nuclear arsenals.
And consistently promoted key arms control agreements.
But we see very worrying trends.
Russia and China are significantly increasing their arsenals.
Key treaties are being undermined.
And emerging and disruptive technologies are fundamentally changing the nature of conflict.
NATO Allies are determined to lead a renewed effort to strengthen arms control.
Because in a more dangerous world, we need more predictability and more transparency.
This evening Ministers will discuss our next Strategic Concept.
Which will be adopted at the Madrid Summit next year.
The Strategic Concept will reflect the new security environment.
It will reaffirm our unity and values.
And drive our continued adaptation.
It is the blueprint for the future of our Alliance.
And how Europe and North America will continue to stand strong together in NATO.
With that, I am ready to take your questions.