NATO says Russian aggression against Georgia, Ukraine pushed its enlargement

Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO Secretary General, on Tuesday said Russia wanted less NATO on its borders and received more due to its aggression. Photo: NATO, 04 Apr 2023 - 15:51, Tbilisi,Georgia

Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO Secretary General, on Tuesday said the Russian aggression against Georgia and Ukraine had pushed the alliance to add new members and take actions to further strengthen its position on the Eastern flank.  

In comments ahead of an official ceremony for accepting Finland as the alliance’s 31st member, Stoltenberg said the international community had been witnessing the growth of Russian military power near Finland and Sweden “for many years”, in addition to the Kremlin’s willingness to use military power against its neighbours.

Georgia in 2008, Crimea in 2014 and a full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year. This is the pattern of Russian behaviour, and this is why we are strengthening NATO, our readiness, our positions on the Eastern flank - this is why allies are investing more in new, modern capabilities”, Stoltenberg said. 

He noted It was Russia's invasion of Ukraine that had encouraged Finland and Sweden to apply for NATO membership in May 2022. 

“President Putin wanted less NATO on its borders by invading Ukraine, to close NATO's door to new members in Europe - he has got the exact opposite”, Stoltenberg said.