Jens Stoltenberg: NATO partners must invest more in defense

(MENAFN) NATO allies have to invest more in defense expenditure as “we live in a more dangerous world,” in agreement with the alliance’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday.

Talking to British Agency Sky News in an exclusive meeting, Stoltenberg announced that, as a previous politician, he knew it was always “more tempting” to invest in health care, education, and infrastructure.

On the other hand, he also noted, “when we live in a more dangerous world, when we see the aggressive actions of (Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin against a sovereign, peaceful nation in Europe, Ukraine and all the threatening rhetoric against NATO allies, then we need to invest more.”

Stoltenberg added that the UK and US were spending at least 2 percent of their GDP — the NATO guideline figure — on defense, saying, “we need to do more together.”

“More and more allies actually spend 2 percent or more on defense, and those who are not … have clear plans in place” to reach to reach that goal,” he went on to claim.

Reply to a question on alleged deliberate damage to a nuclear device in Ukraine by Russian troops, Stoltenberg stated it was “a very dangerous situation,” for Ukraine and the whole of Europe.

He continued that it was “dangerous and it’s reckless of Russia” that its forces were using the survey area around the Zaporizhzhya facility, which is Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant, as a “launching pad for artillery for attacks on Ukrainian forces.”

“So therefore, we need the International Atomic Energy Agency to have access to be able to inspect the site, we need the Russians to move their forces away from the nuclear power plant, and we need the Ukrainian operators to be able to do their work in a peaceful and controlled environment,” Stoltenberg claimed.

He noted that Russia had started attacking Ukraine in 2014 with the illegal takeover of Crimea and the placement of troops in the eastern Donbas area, where Moscow also stood with separatist militaries. “So, Russian aggression against Ukraine didn’t start in February this year. It started eight years ago.”

“Then, of course, what they saw this year was a full-fledged invasion. And that was an invasion they have planned for many months,” he further declared.

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