Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday (18 February 2023), NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stressed that, one year since Russia’s full-fledged invasion of Ukraine, President Putin is not planning for peace but for more war. The Secretary General said, “we must give Ukraine what they need to win and prevail as a sovereign, independent nation in Europe.”
The Secretary General argued that even if the war ends tomorrow, our security environment has changed for the long term. He said that the Kremlin wants a different Europe, where Russia controls neighbours. “We also know that Beijing is watching closely, to see the price Russia pays, or the reward it receives for its aggression,” Mr. Stoltenberg said, stressing that the war in Ukraine demonstrates that security is global, rather than regional, and defence is not optional.
The Secretary General also stressed the importance of resilience. “Not so long ago, many argued that importing Russian gas was purely an economic issue,” he said, adding that “we should not make the same mistakes with China and other authoritarian regimes.”
Finally, Secretary General Stoltenberg highlighted that, “the most important lesson from the war in Ukraine is that North America and Europe must stand together,” stressing that “without NATO, there is no security in Europe.”
Mr. Stoltenberg was speaking at a main stage panel at the 2023 Munich Security Conference, alongside the President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, the President of Moldova, Maia Sandu, and the Prime Minister of Denmark, Mette Frederiksen.
On the margins of the Munich Security Conference, the Secretary General held a series of meetings, including with the British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, the Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, the Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, the Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, and the U.S. Congressional delegation led by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).