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tv   NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg on Russia- Ukraine  CSPAN  February 17, 2022 4:33pm-4:59pm EST

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does this recommend -- represent a closer alliance between the two? sec. austin: certainly, i can't speak to the strength of that alliance. what i can say, i am not sure if it is anything at all. we did know that china's approval of a putin's activities here in the region. i am not sure that we can make the kind of direct difference from what you just raised, but certainly does i think that will continue to watch going forward. i think you raised a very important question. >> thanks, everybody. that concludes today's questions. >> thank you.
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quest the nato secretary-general also addressed reporters at nato's headquarters and said there is no sign of a russian news tory -- military withdrawal or de-escalation. he said russia's military buildup on the border is continuing. >> good afternoon. nato allies continue strong diplomatic efforts to find a political solution to the crisis triggered by russia's military buildup in and around ukraine. despite moscow's claims, we have seen no sign of withdrawal or de-escalation so far. on the contrary, russia's buildup continues to -- appears to continue. we continue to monitor development very closely.
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we call on russia to withdraw its forces from the borders of ukraine. this will be an important first step toward a peaceful political solution. today we met with our close partners ukraine and georgia. the security situation in this region and nato's practical support for both countries. nato and allies are helping ukraine boost its ability to defend itself. self-defense is a right enshrined in the u.n. charter. allies are helping ukraine to uphold that. including with military equipment for ukraine and armed forces. cyber and intelligence expertise and with significant initial support.
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we also discussed the presence of russian forces in the georgian regions. and the vote of the russian duma recommending the recognition of the nongovernment controlled areas. we all agree that would be a further blatant violation of ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty and the agreements undermining the efforts to find a put ago solution. today, allies confirm that nato's door remains open. any decision on nato's membership is for nato allies to take, nobody else. the right of each nation to choose its own path is absolutely fundamental for
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european and transatlantic security. and it must be respected. nato allies restated their strong support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of both georgia and ukraine. we cannot accept a return to the age of spheres of influence where big powers bully, intimidate or dictate to others. sorry, there can be no decisions about ukraine without ukraine. and no decisions about georgia without georgia.
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final session, we met with our close partners. we shared the same values. we faced the same challenges and the crisis in and around ukraine affects us all. we agree that it is even more important now that we continue to work together. and, met each other's efforts to bring these crises to a peaceful solution. with that i am ready to take your questions. >> dan michaels with the wall street journal. are you concerned about comments out of russia about hostilities -- could this be used as a pretext for russia to attack? >> we are concerned that russia is trying to stage a pretext for an armed attack against ukraine.
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there is still no clarity or certainty about the russian tensions. we don't know what will happen but those that -- what we do know is that russia has amassed the biggest force we have seen there in decades in and around ukraine. we also know that there are many russian intelligence officers operating in ukraine. they are present in many states and we have seen attempts to stage a pretext for operations to provide an excuse for invading ukraine. of course this is of concern. i am not going to go into the details of the different reports about the reasons why we are so closely monitoring what is going on and also why nato allies have exposed the russian actions, the
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russian plans and the russian efforts when it comes to disinformation because we believe that makes it harder for them to act, harder for them to invade ukraine and we continue to call on russia to de-escalate the two withdrawal forces and engage in a political dialogue with nato allies. >> we will go to the bbc. >> thank you. you have accused russia of disinformation. i just wonder whether they could make the same charges of the nato alliance. there were predictions that there might be an invasion that never happened. russia always said this was not to invade ukraine, excepting over 400,000 troops.
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also, you're saying we are not clear as to who made the troops there are. is there a danger in accusing russia of disinformation? they can just turn to you and say you put out disinformation about clues that have not happened, false flag operations that have not happened, how would you respond to that? >> partly by just assuring them that we have described our facts on the ground and we have shared intelligence, shared information that we have collected but this is also information that is now available for everyone. it is something you can monitor by commercial satellite. no one is trying to deny the fact that russia has a large force on the border of ukraine. that is publicly available information.
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we know the capacity and the forces they have amassed but we don't know their intentions. if we combine what we know about their forces with what we know about these threats, if we don't meet their demands, there will be technical consequences. and we know the track record of russia. if you combine that and on top of that, the fact that they have a lot of intelligence operating inside ukraine, if you combine all of that, there are reasons to be seriously concerned. that is the reason why we are conveying that if they use force, if it will have a high cost, that is why they bring supports ukraine, so they can defend themselves. all of this we do to try to
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prevent an attack on ukraine. the fact that we are describing risk does not mean that it would happen with 100% certainty. we describe that, that is it. the main story, the main message has been the same from nato for months. when nato allies describe the buildup, that was questioned. we also described the most likely plans -- now we need to prevent the next step from happening that they are using this force against ukraine and that is why we're doing all the things we are doing in calling russia to de-escalate and also showing them what they will do if they use force again.
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>> according to the public -- the available information coming from ukraine, russian troops are not withdrawing from belarus and just maneuvering along the borders of ukraine. my question is does nato share the concerns that these trips could be staying in belarus? what would be the position of nato if that happens? >> what i have seen over many years now is the european security environment. with illegal annexation of crimea. and now with the large number of combat ready troops in and around ukraine.
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there is also closer and closer integration of russia and russian forces. so that is why we have reacted in the way we have in nato. we have strengthened our presence in the east with the groups in the baltic countries and poland. and that is why we are watching what is happening or in and around ukraine. we are now considering the next steps including groups in the southeast of the alliance. nato has to respond when we see aggressive actions by russia but we continue to search for dialogue and de-escalation. nato believes in dialogue and
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therefore, we continue to call on russia to engage in good faith in dialogue with nato. >> thank you so much. secretary general, can you tell us more about the meeting with the defense minister from georgia? we are also waiting on nato georgian exercises in march. the second point, mr. zelensky today said ukraine is welcome to nato but not all members of the alliance. how would you respond to that? >> we had a good meeting with both the defense minister from georgia and ukraine. i think in that meeting, allies expressed strong support to both countries. and analysts provided support to georgia and ukraine in different ways. we do it in the nato framework.
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we provide bilateral support, training and there will be an exercise in georgia later on this year and of course, nato will be part of that. the exercises we do together and it demonstrates in a way how we are working closely together. the black sea region is so strategic and important for nato so what happens there matters for us. we are two very close partners in georgia and ukraine. to work closely with them is important for us, important for the partners and that is clearly confirmed today. we -- our positions have not changed. the focus now is on reform. it is to help both ukraine and
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georgia to modernize their security institutions and we continue to focus on that. >> belarus's president said the country could host nuclear weapons threatened by the west. what would be the response? >> nato is not the threat. nato is a defensive alliance. we have proven for more than 70 years that we are there to protect and defend. we are concerned about what we see that russia is modernizing its nuclear capable missiles. we have seen this in belarus. these are dual capable missiles that could carry nuclear
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warheads. the reason why we are concerned and why we have been concerned for long time is because this is the path that has taken place over several years. one of the most important agreements of nato allies that they have reached and made with russia was the treaty banning all intermediate range weapons globally but also in europe. and russia deployed missiles and that has undermined it security. we are taking the necessary decisions and steps to be able to protect all of our allies including close by russian nuclear investments. >> thank you.
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could you to us was tap -- what has to happen on the ground so that nato can state those are real fines of de-escalation? russia is apparently about to hand over their response to the u.s. proposals. are you also expecting them to send a response to your proposal as well? >> we are waiting for the response from russia. we received a draft security treaty that russia wanted to sign with nato. we met in the nato russia council. where this proposal was discussed. we have sent to russia our proposals where we actually list and go through areas like arms control, and we believe that
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these are topics where there is room for common ground to find solutions. that will improve the security of all of us, for nato allies and the people of russia. arms control is good for all of us. it will strengthen the security for russia and for nato allies. the reason why we have conveyed these proposals is that we believe that if we sit down in good faith as we have done in the past, we can actually reach agreements which are strengthening the security of all countries including of course russia. we are waiting for the response. we have not yet received any response but i continue to believe that the nato russia council that was established by russia and nato allies is the best path forward to engage when nato and russia have issues to
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discuss. the nato russia council is an all weather institution. it is even more important that we meet now then when tensions are high. i invited russia to a series of meetings in the nato russia council to address their concerns, our concerns and to try to find a common way forward. your first question was? >> we have to see a real withdrawal. you have to understand it is a buildup that has taken place over many months. over the whole time, we have seen the number of troops going down and some forces moving in and some moving out but the net effect has been a steady increase. the fact that they are putting a battle tank on a train and
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moving it in some direction does not prove withdrawal of troops. that is not the same as real de-escalation because these capabilities are moving around all the time in and out. it has to be a meaningful withdrawal. it has to be a meaningful de-escalation. that is what we are waiting for. so far we have not seen that. of course, this can change and that is what we are hoping and working for. when we see that russia does what they are saying, that there is real, significant, meaningful reduction of troops in and around ukraine. >> we will try to take two quick questions online. >> thank you mr. secretary-general. my question is this, secretary-general, from the latest information that you are receiving, all the reports on
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the russian troop movement, does russia have enough troops, enough hardware on its borders with ukraine to stage an invasion now? if so, what could that invasion look like? >> they have enough troops, enough capabilities with very little or no warning signs. that is what makes the situation so dangerous. we know about their capabilities but we don't know with certainty about their intentions. it remains to be seen what they actually do. but to have so many troops in and around ukraine, it is not a normal exercise, it is not a normal activity on their own territory, this is something that is near an independent
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sovereign nation and they can launch an attack with hardly any warning time at all and that is the danger. that is the reason why we continue to call on them to de-escalate. it is never too late to de-escalate. it is never too late to find a political solution and we are ready to sit down and address their concerns and find common ground for the political solution. >> thank you very much. thank you for this, secretary-general. i would wonder what would happen if we are headed for a situation not of war or peace but sustained pressure, what does that mean for nato in terms of sanctions? >> regrettably, i think what we are seeing now is a new normal
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for european security. because we have seen this trend over many years. where russia contests principles for european security and where they are willing to use force but also to threaten with the use of force to intimidate countries in europe. we have seen this develop it over sometime. especially since 2014. that is why nato has responded. just to make sure that we continue to preserve peace and prevent any room for miscalculation and misunderstanding about our ability to defend allies.
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we have decided that this defense minister meeting, that we have others looking to advise on the next steps for more longer-term increased presence in the eastern part of the alliance. for me, this just underlines the importance of nato's track. we need to be strong, united, firm but at the same time we are almost ready to -- always ready to find a peaceful dialogue. nato believes in dialogue. we believe in diplomacy. >> thank you very much. this concludes this press conference. thank you.
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>> earlier today, members of president biden's council of economic advisers testified on economic gains during the first year of his presidency and how to ensure those gains reach workers and their families. you can watch the hearing before the senate banking and urban fares committee tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span two, online at c-span.org or watch coverage on c-span now, our new video app. the ranking member of the commerce committee talks about how some companies are profiting from this years of the bigs hosted by china while remaining silent on the company -- country's human rights abuses. watch friday on c-span.

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