NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday (6 May 2021) that NATO continues to closely monitor Russia’s significant military build-up in and around Ukraine.
Speaking at a meeting of European Union Defence Ministers, the Secretary General welcomed today’s announcement by the EU to include Canada, Norway and the United States in PESCO projects on military mobility, enabling troops to move more quickly across Europe. “Non-EU Allies play an essential role in protecting and defending Europe”, Mr Stoltenberg said.
The Secretary General also said that Russia had withdrawn some troops from Ukraine’s border but that tens of thousands remain in the region. “Overall, there is a significant Russian presence, and there are many more Russian troops now, in and around Ukraine, than before the recent increase in tensions”, he said.
On Afghanistan, the Secretary General said that the drawdown of NATO’s Resolute Training mission was underway, but that the end of NATO’s mission does not mean the end of the Alliance’s relationship with Afghanistan. Allies are looking at how they can continue to provide financial and training support to Afghan forces, the Secretary General said.