Stoltenberg Claims NATO Won’t Send Combat Troops to Ukraine

NATO will not deploy “combat” troops to Ukraine since a number of its members already have troops in Ukraine engaged in “training” Ukrainian government forces to use weapons systems supplied by the alliance, NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, said in an interview on Tuesday.

He stressed at the same time that he needs to be sure that there is no misunderstanding about NATO’s readiness and commitment to defend all allies, hence explaining the alliance’s increased presence in the eastern part of the NATO, in the Black Sea and Baltic regions.

Stoltenberg noted that amid growing tensions over Russia’s combat troop build-up on Ukraine’s border, NATO is finalizing its own written response to the Kremlin’s proposal about European security, in an effort to find a way forward.

The Russian proposal includes, among other things, legally binding guarantees that NATO will not expand further East to include any more former Soviet republics or deploy offensive weapons along the border of Russia.

He pointed out the alliance’s readiness to discuss issues that are relevant for European security, such as arms control, disarmament, transparency on military activities, risk reduction mechanisms, etc. as well as listen to Russian concerns.

However, Stoltenberg underlined that the alliance is not ready to compromise on core principles like the right for every nation in Europe to choose its own path or associations with alliances.

The State Department, which still hasn’t sent the US response to Moscow, stressed on Monday that it would reject security proposals from Moscow, such as a ban on NATO expansion, that are simply non-starters.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said at the time that Moscow’s demand for NATO to end its eastward expansion – Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called it a matter of life and death for Russia – was unconditional.

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