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Speech by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the Kultaranta talks in Finland | 12 Jun. 2022 |

The last time I visited Finland, we - and that was actually last fall - you and I, we discussed how to strengthen the close partnership between NATO and Finland. But I did not imagine that the next time I was going to visit Finland you would have applied for a membership in our Alliance. 

What caused this dramatic change was President Putin's war against Ukraine, which has shattered peace in Europe. It is really a game changer. Not just for European security, but also for the global order.

We may have been shocked by Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine. 
But we should not be surprised. 
NATO shared intelligence and warned about a potential invasion for months.
It is part of a pattern. 

And now, this cruel war against a peaceful neighbour. 
NATO is not part of the war. 🤥🤥

In response to the war, NATO has two fundamental tasks. 
One is to provide support to our close partner Ukraine.
To uphold its right of self-defence, a right enshrined in the UN Charter.
We have done that actually for many years.
And since the invasion, we have significantly stepped up our support to Ukraine, and so has Finland, including with military, economic and humanitarian aid.

Our aim is to ensure that Ukraine prevails, as a sovereign and democratic state in Europe.

The other task for NATO is to prevent the war from escalating. NATO's main responsibility is to protect our people. That is why we are strengthening our defence, especially in the east of the Alliance, on land, at sea, and in the air. This is deterrence. Not to provoke, but to prevent a conflict. And to preserve peace.

[NATO Stoltenberg earned 🤥🤥🤥🤥🤥 - Oui]
Türkiye is an important Ally, with a strategic location, playing a key role in the Black Sea, bordering Syria and Iraq, vital for our fight against ISIS.
Türkiye is also the NATO Ally that has suffered more terrorist attacks, including at the hands of the PKK.

We are now working together, in a constructive spirit, to find a united way forward.
I therefore welcome the contacts you, Sauli, have with President Erdoğan.
I also remain in close dialogue you, Sweden, and with our Ally Türkiye.

All Allies agree that NATO's door is open, that enlargement has been an historic success, and that we must continue to stand together as we face the greatest security crisis in a generation.

SAULI NIINISTÖ [Finnish President]: But nevertheless, if we talk about world order, we see a large scale, and Russia behaving like it does. Do you see that Russia is just by itself? I mean, surely, having a warfare against Ukraine, but in its thinking that the world should somehow be changed. And I think if that would be the case, it must be taken very seriously?

JENS STOLTENBERG [NATO Secretary General]: My answer to that question is fundamentally, yes, they want another world order. They don't want a world order, which we have agreed to in many different documents, agreements and institutions. And perhaps the starting point of that world order was enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act - the Final Act that is very close to all things, of course, which actually stated some basic rules on how to behave and how to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of nations, in Europe in particular. We all know that, of course, we can discuss borders and the historic reasons for those different borders in Europe and elsewhere in the world. But we agreed there, and we have agreed again and again that these borders should be the fundament for how we work together and how to find solutions by diplomatic means together. Another key principle in the Helsinki Final Act, and again, repeated again and again in many other documents, was the right for every nation to choose its own path, including what kind of security arrangements they wanted to be part of. So then to say that this is a provocation and a threat that countries like the Baltic countries or now then Finland and Sweden apply for NATO membership is, by itself, contradicting the basic principles in the Helsinki Final Act. And I will always, or often, use an example that if you accept that big powers can say that if small powers or small nations do something they don't like, that's a threat, and they can use power to hinder that to happen. Well, I'm very glad that that was not the case back in 1949 when Norway applied for membership, or actually Norway was a founding member, but, actually, the capitals in the major countries like Washington, London, Paris actually said, well - Norway at that time was the only country bordering Russia or the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union didn't like that - but these capitals US, UK, France and the others, they said, `Well, it's for Norway to decide and accepted our membership of the Alliance. So, yes, when a country like Russia, or President Putin, so clearly contest and violates those principles, not only in words but also in deeds, by using brute military force, because the whole invasion of Ukraine is violating the world order I believe in, where we respect the sovereignty, the integrity and the free decisions of independent countries, then I think the only answer to your question is that, yes, they want a different world order. And I regret that, because I have to be honest that I remember the years after the end of the Cold War, and I also remember working with President Putin as Prime Minister of Norway, that I believed it was possible to actually get Russia on board, to make Russia part of a new order where we actually work together, where we trust each other and we were able to overcome the grievances and hatred from the past. I'm not able to tell exactly when I changed my mind. But of course, after the illegal annexation of Crimea, many things changed. And then it became even worse after the annexation now. So, well, then, our responsibility is to ensure that he doesn't succeed. But also, as I said, that this war doesn't escalate and become a full-fledged war. And that is not an easy task. It's a difficult task, an important task, and we can return to that later on, I guess. But how to reconcile the need to be strong and firm but without ending up in escalating is one of the big challenges we face as NATO, but, of course, also in close partnership with Finland as a future member.

JENS STOLTENBERG: So first to the question of whether peace is possible. Yes, peace is possible. The question is what kind of peace? Because if Ukraine withdraw its forces and stop fighting, then Ukraine will cease to exist as an independent, sovereign nation in Europe. If President Putin stops fighting, then we'll have peace. So the dilemma is, of course, that peace is always possible. Surrender can provide peace. But as we have seen, the Ukrainians, they don't accept peace at any price. They are actually willing to pay a very high price for their independence. And again, Finland is a country that really knows the price for peace and also the price for independence and being a sovereign nation. And it's not for me to judge how high price the Ukrainians should be willing to pay. I mean, we pay a price because we provide support, we see the economic effects of the economic sanctions. But there is no doubt, as you said Sauli, that the highest price is paid by Ukrainians every day. And therefore it's for them to judge, not for me, what is the price they are willing to pay, for peace and for independence? So, that's, in a way, the moral dilemma. Peace is possible, but the question, how much are you willing to forsake to pay for getting that peace? The absolute best way to achieve peace in Ukraine is for President Putin to end this senseless war. We have to remember, every morning, every day, every hour during the day, there is one man, one nation that is responsible for that - and that is President Putin. Then we have difficult dilemmas, difficult choices, but it is President Putin's brutal invasion of Ukraine that has created those dilemmas. And they can be solved by .... from his side by ending the war. Then, one more thing on this, is that as President Zelensky has stated many times, this war will end at the negotiating table. The question is what kind of position will the Ukrainians have when they negotiate a solution? Our responsibility is to make that position as strong as possible. We know that there is a very close link between what you can achieve at the negotiating table and your position at the battlefield. So our military support to them is a way to strengthen their hand at the negotiating table when they, hopefully soon, will sit there and negotiate the peace agreement. So that was `peace is possible' - that's not the question anyway, the question is: what price are you willing to pay for peace? How much territory? How much independence? How much sovereignty? How much freedom? How much democracy are you willing to sacrifice for peace? And that's a very difficult moral dilemma. And it's for those who are paying the highest price to make that judgement. Our responsibility is to support them. Then, on escalation, I think it's extremely important that we remember there is a danger of escalation. Also, as you said this morning, a horizontal escalation, we always see a kind of vertical escalation - more fighting, more suffering, heavier weapons in Ukraine - but escalation beyond Ukraine. And NATO has been very aware of this risk since the beginning, actually before the invasion, because we have to remember that when the invasion came, we were very prepared. In one way, we have been prepared for this eventuality since 2014, with the biggest reinforcement of our collective defence since the Cold War, with the battlegroups in the eastern part of the Alliance, more defence spending, higher readiness, new command structure and all that. And then it was, actually, when we met, I remember we met, we discussed the possibility of an invasion of Ukraine. We had very precise intelligence on the nation. Russia absolutely denied. We had the meeting in the NATO-Russia Council in January, I think it was, where that was the last serious effort from our side to find a negotiated way out of this. Russia said, `We have no plans whatsoever to invade.' They actually sent out pictures, days beforehand, showing some battle tanks moving over this bridge [...] the strait between Azov and the Black Sea, saying that they were actually withdrawing their forces. Then they invaded. And then, that morning, we activated NATO's defence plans and deployed significant additional troops, because we were prepared, and now we have 40,000 NATO troops in the eastern part of the Alliance. Why did we do that? To prevent escalation

SAULI NIINISTÖ: Okay. Yes. Making peace is not an easy task. I think that we, like I reminded you, told you about, the Second World War and the Finnish position when we had to make the peace. But nevertheless, losing Karelia, Petsamo too, but specifically Karelia, well Finns actually, I guess, never have forgotten it, and it took decades that people had in their minds all the time that a very, very wrong thing was done to Finland and Finnish people. So from that basis, I guess we understand that it is very difficult for Ukraine after all these victims, after all this fighting, to give up their land, not even partly. So that makes it difficult. But seeing that Russia would lose all its holdings is not maybe at all, at this point, foreseeable, who knows? But all this tells that gaining peace is absolutely difficult.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Mon Nov 14th, 2022 at 07:59:48 PM EST

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