‘We need to be prepared’: Stoltenberg urges Putin to stop ‘hegemonic ambitions’

Written by Staff Writer by Anna Andrianova, CNN

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday against reviving a Soviet-era tactic to invade neighboring Ukraine, and called on him to stop Russia destabilizing the situation in Georgia.

A full meeting of the alliance’s military affairs council (MAPCOM) was held in the Estonian capital Tallinn, and Stoltenberg said NATO was “ready to defend itself in the face of any threat.”

“Russia is trying to mobilize nationalist sentiment against governments on the Western side and to intimidate others,” Stoltenberg said.

“To win, Russia has to try something new, to use tactics from the Cold War era, which they tried in Crimea, in Georgia and in other places. And we need to make sure we don’t become used to this. So we must be prepared for the possibility of a wider intervention in Europe.”

Stoltenberg said that NATO’s Article 5 statement, which provides for an attack on one ally to be treated as an attack on all members, is “very clear.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addresses a media conference at the NATO Military Committee Meeting in Estonia. Credit: ANTON FOSTER/AFP/AFP/Getty Images

“We will come together and we will stand united against any violations of Article 5,” he added.

“We’ve seen Russia have not fulfilled its commitments in the Minsk agreements,” Stoltenberg continued, referring to last year’s peace agreement that was brokered by Russia and Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the alliance is working closely with Georgia and other countries that have suffered from Russian aggression, Stoltenberg said.

“What Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova have been through tells us a lot about the nature of Russia,” he said. “There is nothing Russian and there is nothing democratic about Russia’s involvement in the region.”

Russia agreed to a ceasefire deal between Georgia and Russia in August 2008, after skirmishes along the separatist provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Russian troops are seen in an undated file photo. Credit: SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/AFP/Getty Images

A protracted military campaign followed, forcing the Georgian government to cede control of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and sparking an international outcry over international support for Russian military intervention.

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