On the day after NATO welcomed Finland as its 31st member, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg spoke to CNN’s Becky Anderson about strengthening the alliance and ongoing tensions with Russia and China.
Stoltenberg said that Finland’s accession was the “exact opposite” of what Vladimir Putin has been hoping to achieve, “It was a declared policy from President Putin that he wanted Finland and Sweden to never become members of NATO, to close NATO’s door. He is getting the exact opposite. He is getting more NATO in the eastern part of the alliance, and is getting more NATO members in Finland and Sweden.”
He continued, “Finland joining NATO means that Finland is getting safer, and NATO is getting stronger. And we demonstrate that NATO’s door is open. It’s not for Russia to decide who can be a NATO member.”
The Secretary General spoke about further expansion saying that he was “confident” Sweden’s membership will be approved and discussed the possibility of Ukraine joining the alliance, ““NATO’s position is that Ukraine will become a member of the alliance. Our immediate task, our main focus now is, of course, to provide support to Ukraine, to ensure that Ukraine prevails as a sovereign, independent nation in Europe.”
Although he cautioned that Ukraine’s membership does not yet have a timeframe, “We have not made any decision on when a membership can be decided. But in the meantime, we need to ensure that Ukraine prevails and that we are helping Ukraine to move towards Euro-Atlantic integration.”
The NATO Chief went on to warn against China providing military aid to Russia, saying that the alliance is, “monitoring very closely what China does”, and asserting that any delivery of lethal aid from the country to Russia will be, “an extremely serious escalation of the conflict.”
Full transcript available here shortly after broadcast