Stoltenberg rules out deployment of NATO combat troops in Ukraine

“We have no plans to deploy NATO combat troops in Ukraine,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on BBC Sunday. NATO military trainers are deployed in the ex-Soviet republic, and the alliance is also helping to strengthen Ukraine’s defense capabilities and is supplying military equipment.

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However, since Ukraine is not a NATO country, the guarantee of 100 percent security that members can claim does not apply to the country, he stressed Stoltenberg. “For Ukraine, a partner, we are providing support and also sending the message that if Russia uses force again, there will be severe economic sanctions.”

The Ukrainian army is now “much stronger, much bigger and much better equipped” than it was in 2014, he said Stoltenberg. At that time, Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea and has been supporting Moscow-loyal separatists in eastern Ukraine ever since. The NATO Secretary General stressed that there was “no certainty” about Russia’s intentions. However, a significant Russian deployment with many troops and heavy military technology can be observed, which is accompanied by “threatening rhetoric”. “There is a real risk, and that is exactly why NATO partners are increasing their support for Ukraine.

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