BRUSSELS (AA) – NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warned on Thursday that if Russia wins in Ukraine, it could continue the war in neighboring countries.
It is a “moral responsibility” to support Ukraine in its fight against the Russian invasion and also serves “our own interest that President (Vladimir) Putin does not succeed in his ambitions in Ukraine,” Stoltenberg told a Norwegian Workers' Youth League summer camp on the island of Utoya.
The world could grow more dangerous if Putin “gets what he wants by using military force,” Stoltenberg warned.
“If Russia wins this war, he will have confirmation that violence works. Then other neighboring countries may be next,” he stated.
He also rejected the Russian claims of an “aggressive and expansive NATO,” explaining that its members are free, democratic countries that have chosen to join the alliance.
Stoltenberg admitted that NATO countries pay a price for their support to Ukraine, but stressed that the contribution in military expenses or higher inflation is only paid in money.
“The price Ukraine pays is measured in human lives,” he pointed out, calling Russia’s war a “brutal and bloody war of attrition.”
“A more dangerous world means that we have to invest more in defense, to keep the peace,” Stoltenberg asserted.
In June, NATO leaders agreed on the biggest overhaul of NATO’s collective defense and deterrence since the Cold War.
The reforms include a new deployment model, with earmarked forces pre-assigned to defend specific NATO countries, 300,000 troops at high readiness, and more pre-positioned equipment and weapon stockpiles on the eastern flank.