NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday highlighted that Russia's “aggressive actions” against its neighbouring countries had started not with its occupation of Crimea in 2014, but at least as far back as its 2008 invasion of Georgia.
In his remarks at the Brussels Forum, Stoltenberg said at the end of the Cold War the West had tried to build a “better, friendlier” relationship with Russia, but the attempt had failed because of Russia's “aggressive” behaviour.
They want to reestablish spheres of influence to control neighbours and of course, that's not the world we would like to live in because that means that a lot of neighbours, former Soviet republics and members of the Warsaw Pact, will not have the independence, we strongly believe that all countries should have”, Stoltenberg said.
Stoltenberg stressed NATO had worked with Georgia for “many years” and had helped to implement reforms.
“And of course, after the war we have also seen that countries which are [...] not NATO Allies, but then try to also resist coercion from Russia. They are vulnerable. So we [...] decided at the Madrid Summit to step up what we do for these countries on the verge. Georgia is one of the strongest examples”, the NATO official continued.
I think also we have to understand that it is important Georgia lives up to the democratic values we all believe in. And of course, we also expect non-NATO Allies to adhere to the sanctions and to not make it easier for Russia to finance and to organise the war of aggression against Ukraine”, he concluded.