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Mar 2 2022

NATO Secretary General visits POLAND and ESTONiA

SZCZECIN, Poland – On 1 March, NATO Secretary General (SecGen), Jens Stoltenberg met with Allies and troops in Poland and Estonia. SecGen was accompanied by NATO military commanders and officials, including Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Chairman NATO Military Committee and Commander Multinational Corps Northeast. Secretary General Stoltenberg stressed that NATO is strengthening its defensive presence across the eastern part of the Alliance in response to Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine.

SecGen began a trip to Poland with a visit to Łask airbase. He met troops from Poland and the United States, together with Polish President Andrzej Duda, and commended their service and sacrifice:

At this air base, we see Allied solidarity in action: fighter jets from the United States are flying alongside the Polish Air Force, keeping NATO skies safe 24/7.

The Secretary General also held talks with President Duda to discuss Russia's invasion, as well as NATO's support to Ukraine and deterrence and defence posture. "I thank Poland for its support and strength at this dangerous moment for European security," said Mr. Stoltenberg. He welcomed that Poland has opened its borders to hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the conflict.

NATO Secretary General and Polish President at the airbase in Łask, Poland, 1 March 2022 / Photo by NATO
Military commanders at the Łask Military Airbase, Poland, 1 March 2022 / Photo by NATO

"Putin's war affects us all and NATO Allies will always stand together to defend and protect each other," SecGen stated. He also noted that NATO is deploying elements of the NATO Response Force for the first time in its history. "Today, French troops are arriving in Romania as the lead element of this force. Our commitment to Article 5, our collective defence clause, is iron-clad," he emphasized. At the same time, the Secretary General stressed that NATO is a defensive Alliance that does not seek conflict with Russia. He called on Russia to immediately stop the war, pull out its forces from Ukraine and engage in good faith in diplomatic efforts.

NATO Secretary General addresses soldiers with NATO eFP Battlegroup Estonia in Tapa, 1 March 2022 / Photo by eFP Estonia 

At the start of a visit to Estonia, SecGen met with President Alar Karis. Mr. Stoltenberg praised Estonia for its NATO contributions, as well as its strong support for Ukraine, including military and humanitarian aid.

Together with Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and NATO military commanders, the Secretary General visited the enhanced Forward Presence multinational Battlegroup in Tapa. They met with British, Estonian, French and Icelandic personnel serving in the Battlegroup. Mr. Stoltenberg praised them for their service, for defending the Alliance and its values. The Battlegroup is led by the United Kingdom and one of four deployed in the region to deter aggression and preserve peace.

The Secretary General held talks with Prime Minister Kaja and Prime Minister Johnson on Russia's invasion of Ukraine. He thanked Estonia and the UK for imposing strong sanctions on Russia, increasing NATO's presence across the Alliance and stepping up support to help Ukraine defend itself. "Our message to President Putin is: stop the war, pull out all your forces from Ukraine and engage in good faith in diplomatic efforts; the world stands with Ukraine," he said. He also stressed that Allies will protect and defend every inch of NATO territory, and thanked the UK for doubling its troop presence in the NATO Battlegroup.

Story by Multinational Corps Northeast Public Affairs Office / Source: NATO

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