18:07 / 24.03.2022.

Author: Branko Lozančić

President Zoran Milanović attends NATO summit in Brussels

Leaders of NATO member countries

Leaders of NATO member countries

Foto: Brendan Smialowski / REUTERS

Western leaders on Thursday showed their unity against Russia's attack on Ukraine. Washington has announced additional military aid to Ukraine, London has imposed new sanctions against Moscow, and NATO has sent more troops to its eastern wing. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also addressed NATO leaders via video link.

"Our commitment to Article 5 is undeniable," read a NATO declaration after a meeting of its leaders in Brussels, urging Belarus to stop participating in Russia's aggression against Ukraine and China to stop spreading false Kremlin narratives.

"We will continue to take all necessary steps to protect and defend the security of allied populations and every inch of allied territory. Our commitment to Article 5 is undeniable," reads the declaration signed by thirty NATO leaders in Brussels. The mentioned Article contains the principle that an attack on one is an attack on all members of the alliance.

In a declaration on "the greatest threat to Euro-Atlantic security in decades", NATO condemned the Russian invasion and called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to withdraw the Russian army immediately, as well as Belarus to stop participating in the conflict.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appealed to NATO leaders to increase military support for his country, warning that Russia's next target could be NATO members in Eastern Europe, including Poland.

Addressing the NATO summit in Brussels, Zelensky said Ukraine needed fighter jets, tanks, anti-ship weapons and improved air defenses to repel attacks by Russian forces.

"I am sure you understand that Russia does not intend to stop in Ukraine," Zelensky said in a video address released by his office. “He wants to go further, against the eastern members of NATO; Baltic states, Poland for sure,” he added.

It was reiterated that the alliance will not impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, but they will continue to support the country in defense against the Russian aggression, and protect and defend NATO member states.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the military presence of the alliance’s Eastern borders has been strengthened with battle groups in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia.

He applauded a decision by allies to invest more in defense noting that it must be quickened.

Stoltenberg also said that Putin made a mistake when he attacked a sovereign state and underestimated the will of the Ukrainian people.

All heads of state or government condemned the Russian aggression.

Croatian President Zoran Milanović represented Croatia at the summit.

“This is not an attack on a NATO member, but an attack on a neighbor, even when it's an attack on a NATO member, Article 5 is activated, but we have never had a chance to see how it is activated in these 70 years, but as long as it's not a member of NATO, nobody but Croatia will decide on what we will do. We saw that the Russians blame the Americans and the Americans blame Russia, it is up to us to watch, to provide support and solidarity, and as Maček said, not to hide under the table when the bigger ones are fighting, nor to dance on the table, but to rather step back a little. I am pursuing that type of policy and will pursue that type of policy,” said President Milanović.

Source: HRT

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