Video message

by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to the Polish National Assembly on the occasion of the 23rd anniversary of NATO membership

  • 11 Mar. 2022 -
  • |
  • Mis à jour le: 11 Mar. 2022 17:10

(As delivered)

President Duda, dear Andrzej,
Dear members of the Polish National Assembly,
Many congratulations on the anniversary of Poland’s accession to NATO!

Twenty-three years ago, your country joined NATO. 
And Poland has been a highly-valued and committed Ally ever since. 
Contributing to our shared security in many different ways.

Including with troops for our missions and operations.
Regular contributions to air and maritime patrols.
And hosting one of NATO’s multinational battlegroups. 

Let me also thank Poland for the tremendous solidarity you have shown at this dangerous time.

You are generously hosting many hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing Putin’s war in Ukraine. 
And providing humanitarian assistance in what is the worst refugee crisis since World War Two.
You are also providing military assistance to help Ukraine exert its right of self-defence.

This war affects the lives of innocent Ukrainians. 
It affects the security of Europe. 
And the entire rules-based international order. 

NATO Allies have been supporting our partner Ukraine for many years.
And Allies have stepped up significantly in the last weeks and months.
Including with large quantities of anti-tank and anti-missile equipment to help save Ukrainian lives.

NATO’s core task is to protect and defend all Allies.
We have a responsibility to ensure this conflict does not escalate beyond Ukraine.
Because this would be even more dangerous, destructive, and deadly.

So Allies are stepping up our defensive presence in Poland, 
and across the eastern part of our Alliance.
With thousands more troops, and hundreds more aircraft and ships.
More than doubling our presence in recent weeks.

Together with you, Mr President, I was at Łask air base just a few days ago.
Meeting Polish forces, working together with colleagues from the United States.
It was truly inspiring to see their professionalism and dedication.

This sends a clear message that NATO Allies stand together. 
We will protect Poland.
And defend every inch of Allied territory.
One for all and all for one. 

Whatever Moscow seeks to achieve through violence and aggression,
it will fail.
It is failing already.

President Putin wants less NATO on Russia’s borders.
He is getting much more NATO.

He wants to divide Europe and North America.
But we stand more united than ever.

He wants to hold European nations hostage with Russian oil and gas.
Instead he is pushing countries to more rapidly diversify their supplies.

And most of all, President Putin wants to take away the freedom and independence of Ukraine.
But brave Ukrainians are fighting for their freedom, and for their future. 

NATO strongly supports the right of each country to live in peace. 
To be free. 
And choose its own path.

More than three decades ago, Poland made its own, free choice.
To go down the Euro-Atlantic path.
And join NATO. 
You inspired many other countries in Central and Eastern Europe to follow that same path. 

Our open door policy has been an historic success. 
Spreading democracy and freedom across Europe.

To this day, we remain committed to it. 
It is enshrined in our founding treaty. 
And neither Russia, nor anybody else, has a veto on whether any country becomes a NATO member.
It is a sovereign decision. 
We must all respect it.    

Poland’s accession to NATO twenty-three years ago has made your country stronger and more secure. And it has made our Alliance stronger and more secure.

I know I can count on Poland’s continued commitment to NATO in the future.

Congratulations again on this anniversary. 
And thank you very much.