Pre-ministerial press conference by the NATO Secretary General - Meeting of NATO Ministers of Defence - Brussels, Belgium

“…a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought, a cyber attack could trigger Article 5 and NATO is ready to protect their member’s key energy infrastructures”, Stoltenberg warns Putin

“NATO is prepared for any threat, any attack, against any NATO Ally. And that’s the reason why we have NATO, to be able to deter also nuclear threats. And this was important before the invasion of Ukraine, it has become even more important after. Not least in light of the nuclear rhetoric from President Putin and from Russia,” NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg said this afternoon ahead to the meetings of NATO Defence Ministers to be held on next 12th and 13th October.
“And we also conveyed clearly to Russia that they will have severe consequences if they use nuclear weapons in any way, including low yield nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” he added.

“Ukraine’s Defence Minister, Oleksii Reznikov, will join us tomorrow. Both for the US-led Contact Group for Ukraine and for a dinner with NATO Ministers.Together, we will address Ukraine’s urgent needs.

I welcome the recent announcements by Allies to provide more advanced air defence systems and other capabilities to Ukraine. And I look forward to further deliveries.
Our message is clear. NATO stands with Ukraine. For as long as it takes.
President Putin started this war. He must end it. By withdrawing his forces from Ukraine.
And President Lukashenko should stop the complicity of Belarus in this illegal conflict,” NATO Secretary General advanced.

Four points that need for consensus, including protection of key energy infrastructures and collaborating with war supplies and weapons industry

NATO Secretary General advanced that in the next two days the Minsiters of Defence of the member State will take decisions in some points including:

1.- Increase our stockpiles of munitions and equipment, speed up the delivery of capabilities and using NATO Defence Planning to provide the industry with the needed information on the demand they will need to meet.

2.- Increasing security around key intallations, such as the energy infrastructures like Nord Stream under attack last week.”Any deliberate attack against Allies’ critical infrastructure would be met with a united and determined response,” Stoltenberg pointed.

3.- Providing new support to Ukraine meeting their military needs.

4.- Other NATO misssions and operations.

Preventing the escalation of the conflict, the best deterrence measure, even against a nuclear attack

“Then, by ensuring that we have credible deterrence and defence, we are helping to reduce the risk of escalation. And therefore it is important that since 2014, we have implemented the biggest reinforcement of our collective defence since the end of the Cold War. So we were prepared when Russia invaded Ukraine in February. And since then, we have further stepped up, increased our presence in the eastern part of the Alliance.

We activated our defence plans the morning of the invasion, and we made decisions in Madrid in June to further strengthen our collective defence. The purpose of this is to prevent war, preserve peace, and including prevent any use of nuclear weapons,” he pointed and added: “On Thursday, I will chair a regular meeting of the Nuclear Planning Group.

The fundamental purpose of NATO’s nuclear deterrence has always been to preserve peace, prevent coercion and deter aggression.”

And Stoltenberg also said: “Next week, NATO will hold its long-planned deterrence exercise, Steadfast Noon.
This is routine training, which happens every year. To keep our deterrent safe, secure and effective.”

Latest air strikes in Ukraine on civilian and strategical objectives by Russia, a sign of Putin’s weakness

Stoltenberg underscored: “what we saw yesterday is actually a sign of weakness. Because the reality is that they’re not able to make progress on the battlefield. Russia is actually losing the battlefield. They are giving up territory because they don’t have the capabilities to stop the Ukrainian forces making advances. So the way they are able to then respond is by indiscriminate attacks on Ukrainian cities, hitting civilians, critical infrastructure. And of course, this causes suffering, damage on Ukraine, but in many ways it actually reflects the lack of alternatives for President Putin. They are losing ground, they have lost the momentum, and then they had to revert to missile strikes and airstrikes in a way we saw yesterday and actually also today.”

A cyber attack on a NATO member could trigger Article 5, Stoltemberg reminds

“Over the last years, NATO has implemented the biggest transformation of our collective defence since the end of the Cold War, and part of that is to take fully into account hybrid threats, cyber threats. And therefore we also stated a few years ago that hybrid and cyber attacks can trigger Article 5; it can constitute an armed attack against a NATO ally. And we have stepped up both our work on resilience, the protection of critical infrastructure, we are conducting more exercises both on hybrid threats and cyber threats. And we are exchanging best practices and have also agreed guidelines on the protection of critical infrastructure. All of this is about protecting, for instance, undersea capabilities for undersea infrastructure, pipelines, cables, but also of course, energy grids, energy production, transportation infrastructure. Of course, I cannot comment on those specific incidents because there are ongoing investigations, and I think we need to await the outcome of this investigation before we make any final judgement. But in general, I can say that of course we are closely monitoring every incident that may constitute a hybrid or cyber attack against the NATO Allies and we are ready to take the necessary measures if needed. Exactly what kind of measure, depends on the nature of the attack. And we will never give our potential adversaries the privilege of defining exactly where the threshold for Article 5 goes. That will be a decision we make as Allies, taking into account the precise context, the specific situation we will face, if there is a hybrid or cyber attack against a NATO Ally,” NATO Secretary General added.

“…following the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, we have further enhanced our vigilance across all domains.
We have doubled our presence in the Baltic and North Seas to over 30 ships, upported by maritime patrol aircraft and undersea capabilities. These efforts are closely coordinated by NATO’s Maritime Command.
Allies are also increasing security around key installations. And stepping up intelligence and intelligence sharing. We will take further steps to strengthen our resilience and protect our critical infrastructure. Any deliberate attack against Allies’ critical infrastructure would be met with a united and determined response,” Stoltenberg warned.

Long haul as well as improved support to Ukraine and replenishing stocks

“…we have used NATO stocks, stocks from NATO Allied countries, to provide support to Ukraine. But of course the longer this war drags on, the more important it is that we also then are able to replenish these stocks.

“That is exactly why we’re now addressing how can we ramp up production? So we can produce more, both to replenish stocks, but also to continue to support Ukraine. I expect ministers to make decisions at the ministerial meeting tomorrow and the day after tomorrow on how to use the NATO defence planning process to agree on the more ambitious targets on, for instance, different capabilities, including a look into the possibility of increasing the targets, the guidelines for stocks. This will provide the industry with a long-term demand. They need to invest in new production capabilities, because they have been able to increase production partly by utilising existing production capacity more, but to really ramp up production, you need to make new investments. I also expect them to agree on how we can further strengthen our interoperability, ensuring that Allies can work together and also jointly purchase ammunition capabilities partly to use in stocks, but also to actually ensure interoperability between Allies. And the unique NATO defence planning process is, I think, the best tool to ensure that Allies are coordinated and actually provide the long-term demand messages to the industry to ramp up production,” Stoltenberg added.

Image over the headline.- NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, during the pre-ministerial press conference.© NATO.

Related external links:

NATO Secretary General pre-ministerial press conference, 11 OCT 2022

Related Eastwind links (Spanish edition):

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(Further than green drones with principles.- NATO boosts comprehensive strategical plan and investment in digital tech and IT at the Brussels summit)

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