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Stoltenberg: NATO, Ukraine coordinate ahead of meeting with Russia.

NATO-Ukraine Commission is a timely opportunity to exchange assessments on the situation and to coordinate ahead of diplomatic engagements with Russia.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made a corresponding statement at a joint briefing with Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Olga Stefanishyna ahead of the NATO-Ukraine Commission meeting.

“Our meeting in the NATO-Ukraine Commission is a timely opportunity to exchange assessments on the situation. To express Allies’ strong political and practical support to Ukraine. And to coordinate ahead of diplomatic engagements with Russia… We will listen to Russia’s concerns, but any meaningful dialogue must also address our concerns about Russia's actions. And it must take place in consultation with Ukraine, as we are doing today. We are also consulting closely with other partners, including Georgia, Moldova, Finland, Sweden, and the European Union,” NATO Secretary General said.

Stoltenberg noted that today’s meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission came at the start of an important week for European security.

The United States and Russia are currently meeting in Geneva, NATO-Russia Council will meet in Brussels on Wednesday. On Thursday, the situation around European security will be discussed within the OSCE.

NATO Secretary General welcomed the fact that Russia had agreed to NATO’s offer to hold a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council this week. The parties will focus on European security issues, transparency related to military activities, risk reduction and arms control.

NATO Allies are united in their support for all nations to choose their own path as this has been a fundamental principle of European security for decades, Stoltenberg underscored.

“Ukraine is a valued and long-standing partner to NATO. We [Stoltenberg and Stefanishyna] just addressed the evolving situation in and around Ukraine. Russia’s military build-up continues. With tens of thousands of combat-ready troops, armed with heavy capabilities. On Friday [January 7], NATO Foreign Ministers called again on Russia to remove its forces from Ukraine and from your [Ukraine’s] borders. Demonstrate transparency. And de-escalate. Any further aggression against Ukraine would come at a high political and economic price,” Stoltenberg stressed.

In December 2021, Russia released two draft "agreements" on security guarantees for Russia to be given by the United States and NATO, demanding to revoke decisions of the Bucharest NATO summit on future membership for Ukraine and Georgia, to stop NATO’s eastward expansion, and to curtail NATO’s activities in the territory of former USSR.

Meanwhile, Russia continues to amass troops in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and around its borders and uses these military preparations for direct blackmail against the United States and NATO. If the West refuses to accept Russian "proposals", the Kremlin authorities publicly threaten to take measures of "military and military-technical nature."

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