The leaders of the North Atlantic Alliance countries have agreed to extend the term of office of the NATO Secretary General for another year.
NATO leaders at a summit in Brussels agreed to strengthen the security of the Alliance’s member states in Central and Eastern Europe in the face of Russian aggression against Ukraine. In particular, new NATO combat groups will be deployed in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovakia.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference after the summit that the North Atlantic Alliance will continue to support Ukraine, in particular with the supply of weapons and equipment. He also warned Russia about the consequences of the possible use of chemical weapons or any other weapons of mass destruction.
At the same time, the head of NATO said that the allies still oppose further escalation of the conflict, but will not send troops to Ukraine or introduce a no-fly zone. He stressed that this threatens a direct clash of NATO and Russian troops. Earlier, Poland offered to send a peacekeeping mission to Ukraine, but this proposal was not actively discussed at the summit.
To a direct question about whether Ukraine will receive from the Alliance the weapons that President Volodymyr Zelenskiy requested earlier, Stoltenberg said he would not disclose details.
The NATO leaders’ statement condemns the Russian aggression against Ukraine; it also calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of troops from Ukrainian territory. “Ukrainians have inspired the world with their heroic resistance against the brutal aggressive war on the part of Russia,” the statement reads. It also talks about possible war crimes committed in Ukraine.
“President Putin’s decision to attack Ukraine is a strategic mistake with serious consequences for Russia itself and its people,” the NATO leaders emphasize.
Earlier it was announced that due to the armed conflict in Ukraine, Stoltenberg’s mandate as NATO Secretary General will be extended for a year, until the autumn of 2023.
On Thursday, Stoltenberg tweeted that the decision of the NATO leadership to extend his term of office until September 30, 2023 is a “great honor” for him.
“While we are facing the most serious security crisis in the last generation, we have united to preserve the strength of our alliance and the security of our peoples,” he said after US President Joe Biden and his colleagues agreed to extend Stoltenberg’s powers at a summit in Brussels.
The former Prime Minister of Norway was appointed to the post of NATO Secretary General in October 2014. His current term of office was due to expire in September of this year.
In a tweet, Joe Biden said Stoltenberg “has done a wonderful job in leading and strengthening our North Atlantic Alliance, especially at this critical time for international security.”