NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told NBC News on Sunday that if Russia uses chemical weapons in Ukraine, it would be a “blatant and brutal violation of international law,” but it may not be enough to elicit a response from NATO.
“Allies support Ukraine, but at the same time, it is extremely important that we prevent this conflict becoming a full-fledged war between NATO and Russia because that will cause much more damage, much more death, destruction than what we see now in Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said. “Russia is a nuclear power. President Putin is now conveying very dangerous nuclear rhetoric. And therefore, we are supporting Ukraine, but at the same time significantly increasing the military presence with the troops on land, at sea, and in the air. Germany and the U.K. have doubled their presence in the Baltic countries, in their battle groups there. The U.S. has now 100,000 troops there in Europe. And there are tens of thousands of troops in the eastern part alliance to send a message that escalation beyond Ukraine will be met with a very firm response from the whole alliance. And by doing that, we are preventing a conflict, not provoking a conflict in Europe at the moment.”
When asked if Russia using chemical weapons would be enough to get NATO to rethink its current position, he responded, “Our core responsibility is to protect one billion people living in 30 different NATO allied countries, and we are doing that by increasing the presence in the eastern part of the alliance.”
NBC’s Chuck Todd responded, “It does sound like what you’re saying is you don’t have an answer yet on what the use of chemical weapons would do to NATO’s stance about Ukraine.”
“So any use of chemical weapons will be a blatant and brutal violation of international law, the ban on the use of chemical weapons,” Stoltenberg responded. “At the same time, we know that Russia has used chemical agents in Europe before against their own political opponents. And they – Russia has been facilitating, supporting the Assad regime in Syria, where chemical weapons has been used. So this is something we take extremely serious. But at the same time, again, we are not – we are very much aware that we need to act in a way that prevents this conflict from going from being a very bloody, ugly, horrific conflict in Ukraine, to something that turns out to be a full-fledged war between NATO and Russia in Europe and also potentially involving, of course, the United States directly. That would be extremely dangerous, and that is exactly what we need to prevent.”
This is an excerpt from The Daily Wire.
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