The NATO chief defended the 30-nation alliance from criticism for failing to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces from “trampling all of Ukraine.”
General Sir Nick Parker, the former commander of the British Army, suggested that NATO was “defeated” because Russia caught the alliance’s bluff by invading a neighboring country.
He said a future military response to Moscow would require a small coalition of countries willing to develop an “offensive counter-strategy against Putin.”
But Jens Stoltenberg turned down the offer and told Sky News: “Any idea that a small group of NATO allies will enter this conflict is dangerous, will escalate and more death and more destruction. So I don’t think it’s a good idea at all. »
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NATO chief warns war will get worse if he provides ground troops
Mr. Stoltenberg said that Russia underestimated not only the strength of the Ukrainian army, but also the unity of NATO and the international community, imposing unprecedented fines.
He also welcomed the ongoing efforts to provide logistical and humanitarian support to Ukraine, which he called “a very valuable partner.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has failed to persuade Western allies to create a no-fly zone over his country, and the European Union has so far refused to follow the US lead on a ban. Russian oil and gas.
Mr. Stoltenberg said the alliance’s primary responsibility is to protect all NATO allies, including one billion people, which it has done successfully for over 70 years and during the current crisis.
He said the situation would only get worse if NATO intervened on the ground and in the air.
In other developments:
• Zelenskiy says Russian invasion nears ‘turning point’
• Putin threatens to break gas contracts if payment is not made in rubles
• The UK announces new sanctions against Russian propagandists and state media.
• Kremlin advisers afraid to tell Putin the truth about Ukraine, says intelligence chief
“We must expect new human suffering”
Mr. Stoltenberg said that the Ukrainian armed forces are larger, better equipped, trained and led than ever thanks to NATO allies, which is why the country has been able to resist the invasion of Russian troops.
However, he warned the world not to be deceived by Russia’s false promises and said that NATO was not yet convinced that it was negotiating “in good faith” in the Istanbul peace talks.
He said Moscow’s attention had not changed since the invasion of Ukraine began in February.
“Russia continues to seek a military solution to this conflict, and more human suffering and continued shelling of Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv, are to be expected,” he said.
“President Putin made two big mistakes. Firstly, underestimation of the strength of the Ukrainian people and forces, as well as the Ukrainian political leadership, and then completely overestimated the size of his military armed forces.
“We have seen all the logistical problems, supply issues and several examples of low morale in the Russian armed forces.
“But at the same time, we must be aware that Russia continues to wage war and thus has demonstrated its readiness not only to inflict pain and suffering on the entire people … but also to continue to do so, despite all the heavy losses it has suffered. suffered. . »
Read more: What are the chances of a peace agreement?
Was there ever a defeat for NATO?
Sir Nick, who also acted as an adviser to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, said that NATO, which includes the UK, the US, Canada and many European countries, has taken a defensive position, surrounding his limbs with a protective ring.
“I think it’s a bit controversial, I mean NATO failed, NATO’s bluff was exposed,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today program.
“We were unable to prevent the Russians from trampling all of Ukraine and now NATO holds the 2004 expansion line, along the lines of the Baltics, Poland, Hungary and Romania. “
He said that the alliance does not have the ability to “go on the offensive with its 30 countries, all with slightly different points of view” and therefore “we need a small coalition of countries that can start developing an offensive counter-strategy against Putin.”
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Last week, the head of NATO announced an increase in defense spending and the deployment of “four new battle groups” in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia.
He said the alliance is ready to defend every inch of its territory with more troops on the ground and in the air.