Stoltenberg said at a press conference held after the meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmigal at NATO headquarters that Russian security forces are trying to suppress demonstrations for the release of Russian opposition Alexey Navalniy, putting pressure on freedom of expression and demonstration.
Stoltenberg said, “I strongly condemn the violent repression of peaceful protesters throughout Russia and the arbitrary detention of thousands of people, journalists. Freedom of expression and peaceful demonstration must be respected. I also condemn the politically motivated detention and arrest of Alexey Navalny. Many of our allies. and demanding the urgent release of Navalniy. ” said.
Stating that Navalniy was the victim of an assassination attempt but justice was turned into a target by distorting it, Stoltenberg asked Russia to fulfill its international obligations such as respect for human rights and fundamental rights.
Stoltenberg demanded that the perpetrators of the toxic assassination attempt on Navalniy be brought to justice by Russia, saying that the Russian authorities should cooperate with the Chemical Weapons Ban Organization for an impartial investigation into the assassination.
“WE FOLLOW RUSSIA CLOSE”
Stoltenberg, who was asked whether Russia expected to operate in other countries to divert attention from the Navalnıy incident, stated that he would not speculate on this issue, but that Russia has been involved in aggressive military actions in many parts of the world in recent years.
Stoltenberg stated that they closely monitored Russia’s military presence, which triggered NATO’s largest collective defense reinforcement in places such as the Black Sea and the Baltics since the Cold War, and increased defense spending by NATO members.
“NATO’S DOORS ARE OPEN”
Stoltenberg asked “NATO’s doors are open” on a question of what Ukraine should do to become a NATO member. said.
Reminding that NATO recently expanded with Montenegro and North Macedonia, Stoltenberg said:
“NATO also made a decision on Ukraine’s membership in 2008. We are behind this decision. I think our focus should be on reform now. I welcome the clear message of the Ukrainian Prime Minister about the need to continue reforms. These are Ukraine’s defense. It includes the establishment of democratic political control in their institutions and armed forces, the fight against corruption and the strengthening of democratic institutions. “
Stoltenberg stated that Ukraine cannot set a date for NATO membership, but they support Ukraine in NATO membership.
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