The security of the Western Balkans and the escalation of the situation on the border between Russia and Ukraine were the main topics of the meeting of Macedonian Prime Minister Dimitar Kovačevski with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels, Meta.mk reports
Prime Minister Dimitar Kovačevski said the country as a NATO ally, joins calls on Russia to de-escalate and resume diplomatic dialogue with Ukraine.
“We support NATO’s proposal for thematic meetings with Russia on the state of relations, European security with a focus on Ukraine, transparency, risk reduction and arms control. We fully support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders,” Kovačevski said.
NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg said that any further Russian aggression in Ukraine would have serious consequences and a high cost.
“There is a significant movement of Russian troops towards Belarus and this is the largest deployment of forces since the Cold War, with an expected 30,000 troops, Special Forces, fighter jets and missile systems. All this will be combined with the annual nuclear exercises of Russia that are expected in this period,” said the NATO Secretary-General.
Stoltenberg added that NATO wants to find a political solution to the crisis, but also that it must be prepared for the worst.
“Yesterday, the United States announced that it would deploy forces in Germany, Poland and Romania, and this comes as a plus to all previous efforts and deployment of forces in NATO commands. We have increased the readiness of NATO forces and we believe that further deployment is needed in the northern part of the Alliance,” Stoltenberg said.
Regarding the security situation in the Western Balkans, the NATO Secretary-General said that the stability of the region is of great importance for NATO. He stressed that the Alliance guarantees the security of the country and protects the Macedonian sky.
“Two years have passed since North Macedonia joined NATO and you have shown that you are an important ally. I applaud the efforts of North Macedonia to promote security, stability, and progress in the region. This includes your contributions to key peacekeeping missions and NATO in Kosovo,” Stoltenberg said.