NATO allies agree to send more resources to Ukraine, will not enforce no-fly zone – National

Canada and its NATO allies are standing pat on sending troops into Ukraine, despite multiple requests from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for increased military support against an invading Russian army.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg reiterated previous statements following the NATO summit on Thursday that the organization is not interested in sending troops into Ukraine to fight Russia.

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He said that they will continue to provide support through weapons, funding and intelligence, but are stopping short of peacekeeping.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that this conflict does not become a full-fledged war between NATO and Russia,” said Stoltenberg. Allies have made it clear that we will not deploy troops on the ground in Ukraine because the only way to do that is to be prepared to engage in full conflict with Russian troops.”

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Stoltenberg added that NATO would be increasing its presence in the air and in the seas while also ensuring that cybersecurity was being reinforced to fend off Russian ransomware attacks.

A man and a woman walk through rubble on the premises of a shopping mall on March 23 ruined as a result of a missile strike carried out by the Russian troops in the Podilskyi district of Kyiv, capital of Ukraine.

Yuliia Ovsiannikova/Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images

He said that NATO allies had agreed to provide Ukraine with greater support in the event of a chemical, biological or nuclear attack and had activated their own defences.

“Our top military commander has activated NATO’s chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense elements. And our allies are deploying additional chemical and biological and nuclear defenses to reinforce our existing and new backing groups. So we are taking measures both to support Ukraine and also to defend ourselves.”

NATO leaders agreed to provide further support to Ukraine and increase sanctions on Russia and increase defense spending, according to Stoltenberg. The organization also approved four new battlegroups in east Europe.

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Click to play video: 'NATO will not deploy peacekeeping troops on the ground in Ukraine, Stoltenberg says'

NATO will not deploy peacekeeping troops on the ground in Ukraine, Stoltenberg says

NATO will not deploy peacekeeping troops on the ground in Ukraine, Stoltenberg says

On Wednesday, in a news conference in Brussels, Stoltenberg told reporters that he expects the leaders to sign off on the deployment of four new battlegroups in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia.

“I expect leaders will agree to strengthen NATO’s posture in all domains, with major increases in the eastern part of the alliance on land, in the air and at sea,” he said.

The new multinational battlegroups come on top of four existing combat units with roughly 5,000 troops operating in the three Baltic states and Poland. They were deployed after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

Read more:

NATO activates chemical, nuclear defense elements amid Russia’s war on Ukraine

For countries supporting Russia like Belarus and potentially China, Stoltenberg said that they need to stop providing aid and instead call for “an immediate, peaceful resolution.”

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The group is expected to meet again in June, where Stoltenberg said he anticipates countries will provide plans on their updated defense spending and re-evaluate their goals for the organization.

Zelensky sends strong message to NATO

In a pre-recorded video address to a NATO emergency summit, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended, Zelenskyy warned Russia poses a threat to NATO nations in eastern Europe.

Russia “wants to go further. Against eastern members of NATO. The Baltic states. Poland for sure,” Zelenskyy said.

“But NATO has yet to show what the alliance can do to save people.”

Click to play video: 'Zelenskyy asks NATO to provide 1 per cent of its military to Ukraine amid Russian invasion'

Zelenskyy asks NATO to provide 1 per cent of its military to Ukraine amid Russian invasion

Zelenskyy asks NATO to provide 1 per cent of its military to Ukraine amid Russian invasion

Zelenskyy added Ukraine wants NATO to supply it with tanks, planes and anti-ship weapons.

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“You can give us one per cent of all your aircraft. One per cent of all your tanks. One per cent!” he said.

“We can’t just buy it. Such a supply directly depends only on NATO’s decisions, on political decisions, by the way.”

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Earlier in a video address to Ukraine, Zelenskyy said that Thursday will prove to be a day in which the country’s true allies emerge.

“At these three summits we will see who is our friend, who is our partner and who sold us out and betrayed us,” Zelenskyy said. The G7 and European Union are also meeting on Thursday.

NATO unity important to help Ukraine

Before the summit began, Trudeau said NATO is more than a geographical alliance, but a “group of countries who stand together because we believe in democracy, in the rule of law, in the defense of human rights and the values ​​that underpin all of our societies.”

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He added that the “illegal, brutal” invasion by Russia is unacceptable and NATO is “united” in the alliance’s support for Ukraine and condemnation of the continued attacks on the eastern European country.

Thirty countries, including Canada, make up the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last month on Feb. 24 has left Europe facing its biggest security threat since the Second World War, and according to Trudeau on Wednesday, a larger threat to the globe.

Ahead of the summit, Stoltenberg spoke to the media, calling the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia the “most serious security crisis in a generation.” He added that this summit was a need for a “reset” in NATO’s operations.

“We need to do more and therefore we need to invest more and there is a new sense of urgency,” he said.

Read more:

NATO deploying 4 more battlegroups as alliance meets on Ukraine support: chief

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Regarding goals for the summit, Stoltenberg said NATO allies need to show unity and “address this security crisis together.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday accused Russia of crossing a red line into barbarism in its war with Ukraine and said the West needed to “tighten the vice” in sanctions to bring the conflict to an end.

“Vladimir Putin has already crossed the red line into barbarism,” Johnson told reporters on arrival in Brussels.

He said more sanctions need to be imposed.

“It is very important we work together to get this thing done. The harder our sanctions … the more we can do to help Ukraine … the faster this thing can be over.”

Trudeau toured Europe two weeks ago, where he held meetings in London, Berlin, Warsaw and Poland, and visited Canadian troops leading a NATO multinational battlegroup in Latvia.

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Canada’s defense budget according to NATO estimates stood at 1.39 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product in 2021.

Russia’s war on Ukraine has stalled on most fronts. Russia has failed to capture a single major Ukrainian city, sixteen the capital Kyiv, or swiftly topple Zelenskyy’s government.

Russia calls the war, which is the biggest attack on a European state since the Second World War, a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and protect it from “Nazis.”

The West describes it as a false pretext for an unprovoked war of aggression to subdue a country Russian President Vladimir Putin describes as illegitimate.

Peace talks have been ongoing throughout the war, but have yet to produce any breakthroughs.

— with files from The Canadian Press and Reuters.


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