The United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is prepared to give Russian President Vladimir Putin assurances that the alliance does not pose a threat to Russia.
Johnson added at the Munich Security Conference that “there is a way ahead if President Putin is ready… We can discuss the threats he claims to see.”
“We all know that these threats are just illusions. It is the product of the Kremlin’s chronic misconception of NATO, which is supposedly a threatening alliance,” he said.
Johnson stressed that NATO is a peaceful and defensive alliance.
“We are ready to work with President Putin to show this point of view and give him the guarantees he needs.”
He added that “prior to Russia’s first invasion of Ukraine in 2014, NATO did not have permanent forces anywhere in eastern Germany,” Johnson said.
“We don’t know what Mr. Putin is thinking, but we have worked to put in place a severe sanctions package if Russia invades its neighbour… We must continue to do everything we can to reach peace.”
He also said that “Russia will not benefit from this catastrophic adventure but will lose everything.”
Furthermore, he pointed out that it is not possible to say what will happen in the coming days, but it is necessary for our collective security to thwart any “Russian aggression.”
Secretary-General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg confirmed that Russia has mobilised the largest volume of forces on the borders of Ukraine since the Cold War.
He called on Russia to withdraw its troops from the border region as a first step to de-escalate.
Stoltenberg added that “we do not know what will happen, but the danger is there, and it is near.”
He called on Russia to withdraw its troops from the Ukrainian border as the first step to a peaceful solution, stressing that “despite Moscow’s claims of troop withdrawal and de-escalation, we have seen no signs of this happening.”
Moreover, he stressed that it is not too late for Russia to change course, retreat, and accept a political solution, clarifying that “NATO is committed to establishing dialogue with Moscow to take reciprocal steps, and we have submitted written proposals to Russia.”
The NATO chief noted that Moscow is trying to change the course of history, strengthen its influence and power, and “limit NATO’s right to defend itself.”
He also made it clear that Russia wants to withdraw all NATO forces from NATO’s member states.
“We are all NATO allies, and we are doing our best to defend each other and ourselves.”
The US and Western countries are accusing Russia of preparing a military attack against Ukraine, which the latter has denied on several occasions, saying that the accusations are a pretext for increasing NATO’s military presence on its borders.
“Russia has repeatedly stressed that it has no intention of launching any operation against Ukraine, and that all reports about this are false. The purpose of these allegations is to escalate tension in the region and fuel anti-Russian rhetoric in preparation for new economic sanctions and as justification for NATO’s eastward expansion, which threatens Russia’s national security,” a statement from the Russian government said.
For his part, Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi said on Saturday that “the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of states should be safeguarded, because this conforms to the UN’s policy and China’s policy.”
“But we must listen to Russia’s reasonable concerns and try to find a solution through dialogue that ensures the safety of Europe,” he added.
“We must oppose the launching of any other cold war and seek peace, and we affirm that the security of any region cannot be achieved by imposing a military blockade here or there.”
He also stressed that the Minsk Agreements are the only way to solve the Ukraine crisis, calling for all parties to adhere to them, as they were ratified by the UN’s Security Council.