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For the second time, Russia has forcibly seized Ukrainian land, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference dedicated to Russia's announced annexation of the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia, BTA reports.

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This does not lead to change - this is a war of Russia against Ukraine.

These lands are Ukraine - Donetsk is Ukraine, Luhansk is Ukraine, Kherson is Ukraine, Zaporozhye is Ukraine, and Crimea is Ukraine, Stoltenberg said.

Ukraine has the right to take back the occupied lands - it can defend itself and continue (with the military actions - note cor) for the liberation of its lands.

Annexation does not change that, he added.

We are determined to continue supporting Ukraine's self-defense as long as necessary, added the Secretary General.

Today's events do not change our determination to support Ukraine.

NATO is not part of the conflict, we are a defensive alliance.

We are united in the defense of every inch of the alliance, he pointed out.

Stoltenberg called today's events an "attempt to annex" Ukrainian land to Russia.

He explained that inaction in the face of Russian moves is very dangerous because it would lead to an increase in long-term threats. 

If Russia stops (fighting), there will be peace.

If Ukraine stops - it will cease to exist as a sovereign European nation.

It is in our interest that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin does not win, because the opposite means that authoritarian regimes can take such actions, and this is dangerous for the whole world, the Secretary General added.

He defined Putin's threat to use an atomic bomb as "nuclear blackmail".

Putin's words are dangerous and irresponsible, Stoltenberg said.

Jens Stoltenberg announced full support for Ukraine

We are carefully monitoring Russia's actions.

Putin bears full responsibility for this war and for ending it.

Russia must understand that a nuclear war cannot be won, therefore it should not be fought.

It has been made very clear to Russia that there will be very severe consequences if they do not use nuclear weapons.

So far, we have not noticed a change in the Russian nuclear forces, the Secretary General summarized.

Stoltenberg noted that today Russia has "annexed" Ukrainian lands equal in area to Portugal. 

It was the biggest forcible land grab in Europe since World War II, he added.

Stoltenberg reiterated NATO's position that this accession is not recognized and will not be recognized by the alliance because it is in complete violation of international law.

NATO calls on all countries to reject the annexation, he added.

On the occasion of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's applications for a "quick procedure" for his country's admission to NATO, Stoltenberg specified that every European democracy has the right to request to join the alliance.

We respect this right, and the decision is taken unanimously by the parties to the pact, he explained.

According to him, the primary goal is to provide aid to Ukraine.

According to Stoltenberg, there are threats to NATO countries.

He added that the pact is involved in the investigation of the breakthroughs on the Nord Stream gas pipeline.

Russian invasion of Ukraine


Jens Stoltenberg