The war in Russia will leave a "more dangerous world and all of us more vulnerable", NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg believes. The "painful cost-of-living crisis" that the world is facing does not seem to be coming to an end anytime soon, but what is clear to the Atlantic alliance is that its support is firm and there is no plan to back down. Stoltenberg has described Russia's invasion of Ukraine as a "failure" on the part of Vladimir Putin, and stresses that NATO is not part of the conflict, although it is prepared to defend every inch of allied territory.
The Secretary General took advantage of his presence in Bucharest to reaffirm the Alliance's position ahead of the meeting of allied Foreign Ministers to be held on Tuesday and Wednesday in the Romanian capital. The Norwegian gave an analysis of the situation and stressed that, although the worst part is being faced by the Ukrainians, "these are also hard times for us in the rest of Europe". However, he clarified that "we are all paying a price for Russia's war against Ukraine, but the price we pay is in money, while the price the Ukrainians pay is in blood".
The effects of a Russian invasion are far greater than occupying Ukraine itself. Not only would it involve the occupation of a territory 'using brute force', it would send a message to other authoritarian leaders that it is a viable way to achieve their goals. Hence, Jens Stoltenberg has emphasised that slowing down efforts in Kiev would have "a higher price for many years to come", and that NATO will stand firmly behind it "for as long as it takes".
NATO is clear that most wars end at the dialogue table. However, the Secretary General says that this dialogue is linked to the development of actions on the battlefield, which, at the moment, in no way facilitates the possibility of sitting down to talk about peace. Precisely for this reason, and with the aim of reaching an understanding that would put an end to war activity, he urged allied countries to continue providing military support to the Ukrainian country as he considers them to have "the right to self-defence".
He also recalled the Alliance's intention to reach out to Moscow just before Putin's decision to invade Ukraine. However, the current context has caused Russia to "abandon" this intention and scuppered what was expected to be a "constructive" dialogue. One of the motivations was what has now become one of the biggest issues for the West, namely the energy supply crisis. This is expected to be addressed in meetings with foreign ministers, especially given the demonstration of "dangerous dependence" on Russian gas.
This situation has led to the West's intention to assess dependence on other countries. In this case, China's name appears above all others. Stoltenberg recalled that many countries depend on Xi Jinping in many respects, although in no case is the intention to end the supply of materials from Beijing. "We will continue to trade and engage economically with China, but we have to be aware of the dependencies, reduce our vulnerabilities and manage the risks," said the NATO Secretary General.