Ukraine counteroffensive success imp. for peace talks: Stoltenberg
NATO's Secretary-General says the alliance cannot accept freezing the conflict now so Russia can present its own terms.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated on Monday that the alliance will not accept freezing the war in Ukraine and accept Russia's terms for peace.
In a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, he said "We all want this war to end, but a just peace cannot mean freezing the conflict and accepting a deal dictated by Russia."
The NATO chief stated that the success of the Ukrainian counteroffensive is important for future peace talks, which is expected to make the country's negotiating position stronger. Moreover, he reiterated that NATO is not a part of the conflict and only supports Ukraine in its right to self-defense. NATO countries have supplied Ukraine with tens of billions of dollars in military aid since the beginning of hostilities in February 2022.
The support evolved from light artillery munitions and training in 2022 to heavier weapons, including tanks, later that year and in 2023.
In recent months, Ukraine has been pushing to be supplied with fighter jets. The Kremlin has repeatedly warned against further arms deliveries to Kiev.
Two days ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin personally received and greeted the African delegates at the Konstantinovsky Palace to discuss the joint African peace initiative on Ukraine. "We will have a comprehensive discussion. I will allow myself to express my position, and we will exchange views, including on the results of your trip yesterday," the President said.
Reminding the attendees that all the problems in Ukraine began after the Western-backed state's unconstitutional, armed coup in 2014, he said Russia welcomes Africa's balanced approach to the conflict in Ukraine.
He then handed the African delegation the draft of the Istanbul agreement on the Ukraine resolution, which stipulates everything from the number of armed forces to military equipment and personnel, as the Russian President stated. "Here it is! It exists!" Putin said, revealing the document signed by a Ukrainian representative. "And it is called accordingly - the treaty on permanent neutrality and security guarantees for Ukraine. Exactly about guarantees. Eighteen articles," the Russian leader noted.
The President explained that "there is also an annex to it. They [clauses] also concern the armed forces, other things. Everything is specified - down to the units of combat equipment and personnel of the armed forces. The document is here!," adding that the document had been initialed and signed by the Ukrainian delegation.
"But after we withdrew the troops from Kiev, as we promised, the Kiev authorities, as their masters usually do, threw it all into the dustbin of history. Let's put it clearly. I'll try to put it intelligently. They gave it up," Putin said, adding that he wanted to exchange views with African delegates on their recent visit to Ukraine.