North Atlantic Council calls upon Russia to withdraw its forces from Ukraine

The North Atlantic Council, the principal political decision-making body within NATO, has called upon Russia to withdraw its forces from Ukraine in accordance with its international obligations and commitments.

"We are gravely concerned by the substantial, unprovoked, and unjustified Russian military build-up on the borders of Ukraine in recent months, and reject the false Russian claims of Ukrainian and NATO provocations," the Council said in a statement released on Friday.

"We are seriously assessing the implications for Alliance security of the current situation. We will always respond in a determined way to any deterioration of our security environment, including through strengthening our collective defence posture as necessary. NATO will take all necessary measures to ensure the security and defence of all NATO Allies. Any further aggression against Ukraine would have massive consequences and would carry a high price. NATO will continue to closely coordinate with relevant stakeholders and other international organisations including the EU."

The Council has offered "meaningful dialogue" with Russia, and reiterated its long-standing invitation to Russia for a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in the near future.

However, the Council warned that any dialogue with Russia would "have to proceed on the basis of reciprocity, address NATO’s concerns about Russia’s actions, be based on the core principles and foundational documents of European security, and take place in consultation with NATO’s European Partners."

"NATO’s European Partners," is assumed to refer to Georgia and Ukraine, both of whom are seeking NATO membership, much to Russia's ire.

We reiterate our support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders, and call on Russia to withdraw its forces from Ukraine in accordance with its international obligations and commitments. We support the right of all countries to decide their own future and foreign policy free from outside interference. NATO’s relationship with Ukraine is a matter only for Ukraine and the 30 NATO Allies.

North Atlantic Council (Dec. 16th 2021).

Should Russia take concrete steps to reduce tensions, the Council said it is prepared to work on strengthening confidence-building measures. The OSCE is also a relevant platform.

NATO is a defensive Alliance and will continue to strive for peace, security, and stability in the whole of the Euro-Atlantic area. We stand united to defend and protect all Allies.

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor and Brussels correspondent of EU Today.

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