At the end of June, NATO leaders will meet at a summit in Madrid. BILD am SONNTAG spoke with Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg (63).
BILD am SONNTAG: How much longer can Ukraine defend Russia?
Jens Stoltenberg: “Ukrainians are bravely defending themselves against Russian invaders. Although the struggle in Donbas is seduced by Russia with increasing brutality, Ukrainian soldiers are putting up brave resistance. With more modern weapons, the likelihood increases that Ukraine will be able to expel Putin’s troops out of Donbas again. “
Under no circumstances do Germany and other Western states want to be a party to the war. Is there a risk of escalation if NATO gets too involved?
Stoltenberg: “NATO will continue to support Ukraine in its self-defense, but it is not part of the conflict. We are helping the country, but we will not send NATO troops to Ukraine. We have strengthened our own defense, with 40,000 troops under NATO command. We secure the Alliance’s territory on land, at sea and in the air. It is a clear message to Moscow to avoid misunderstandings about our readiness.
Should we be afraid of Putin’s nuclear bombs?
Stoltenberg: “We do not see a higher level of preparedness in the Russian nuclear forces. Yet Russia’s nuclear saber rattling is dangerous and irresponsible. Putin needs to know that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be waged. Our clear signal to Russia: NATO is protecting all member states.
They say we must prepare for a long war. How long will it be?
Stoltenberg: “No one knows. We must prepare for the fact that it may take years. We must not relax in supporting Ukraine. Although the costs are high, not only for military support, but also because of rising energy and food prices. But: That can not be compared with the price And if Putin learns from this war that he can simply continue as after the war in Georgia in 2008 and the occupation of Crimea in 2014, we will pay a much higher price.
A new concept of the strategy is to be decided at the NATO summit in Madrid at the end of June. So far, Russia has been mentioned as a “partner”. How will NATO deal with Russia in the future?
Stoltenberg: “As the world changes, so does NATO. And the world has become more dangerous. We declare that Russia is no longer a partner, but a threat to our security, peace and stability. China will also appear in the newspapers for the first time. Because China’s rise is a challenge to our interests, our values and our security.
Finland and Sweden want to join NATO, Turkey is worried. How do you clean them?
Stoltenberg: “Membership applications are a historic moment that we must take advantage of. Accession would strengthen not only Finland and Sweden, but all of us. Turkey is an important NATO country of strategic importance between Europe, Russia, Iraq and Syria. NATO, Sweden, Finland and the EU classify the PKK as a terrorist group. No NATO country has suffered as much terror as Turkey. That is why we take Turkey’s concerns very seriously and are doing everything in our power to address them. “