All NATO Allies are united in their strong support for Ukraine in the face of the threat posed by the Russian Federation. Any military incursion into Ukraine will have serious consequences, including coordinated sanctions.

Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly wrote about this on her Twitter account after a virtual meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs, dedicated to Russia’s military build-up in and around Ukraine and broader European security issues.

“Canada and our NATO Allies are united in our support for Ukraine and its people. Russia must de-escalate and engage in meaningful dialogue,” Joly said.

During a press conference in Brussels following the virtual meeting, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg noted that the Alliance stands by its decisions at the Bucharest Summit when it comes to Ukraine and Georgia. According to him, this issue remains on the agenda, despite aggressive rhetoric and blackmail by the Russian Federation.

The NATO Secretary General stressed that sovereign states freely and democratically decide on joining the Alliance, and after all democratic processes are observed, 30 NATO Allies decide whether to expand the Alliance.

At the same time, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Russia could instigate a provocation in order to then justify the invasion of Ukraine.

“No one should be surprised if Russia instigates a provocation or incident – then tries to use it to justify military intervention, hoping that by the time the world realises the ruse, it’ll be too late,” Blinken said.

He also called the idea that Ukraine is the aggressor in this situation “absurd.”

“It’s Russia that invaded Ukraine nearly eight years ago. It’s Russia that is the military occupier of part of Ukraine, in Crimea. It’s Russia that, to this day, is fueling a war in eastern Ukraine. It’s Russia that has failed to implement any of its Minsk commitments… It’s Russia that’s taken aim repeatedly at Ukraine’s democracy. And it’s Russia that’s sending troops to Ukraine’s border, once again. All these actions are violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and an immediate and urgent challenge to peace and stability in Europe,” the Secretary of State said.

He criticised Russia’s demands for non-enlargement guarantees it is making to the United States and NATO. According to Blinken, Moscow “wants to draw us into a debate about NATO, rather than focus on the matter at hand, which is their aggression toward Ukraine.” In this situation, according to the Secretary of State, a diplomatic solution to Russia’s aggression “is still possible and preferable, if Russia chooses it.” The United States, together with its allies and partners, will continue to pursue this at the Strategic Stability Dialogue between the United States and Russia next week, and at the meetings of the NATO-Russia Council and the OSCE.

Bohdan Marusyak

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