NATO chief links China to bloc's Ukraine support
The US should continue supporting Ukraine because a Russian victory in the conflict would empower China, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has claimed.
A victorious Russia would “be bad for all of us in Europe and North America, in the whole of NATO, because that will send a message to authoritarian leaders – not only Putin, but also China – that by the use of brutal military force, they can achieve their goals,” Stoltenberg said in an interview with Politico, extracts from which were published on Friday.
“[It’s] important for NATO allies to stand together and to address the consequences of the rise of China – and that we agree on, and that’s exactly what we are doing,” he pointed out, referring to Beijing being designated as a “challenge” to the bloc in summer.
The statement comes in the wake of midterm elections in the US on November 8, in which the Republicans are expected to make significant gains and reclaim control of at least one chamber of Congress. While the Democrats have been united in their backing of Ukraine, many Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, have recently indicated that the flow of aid to Kiev might subside significantly or even come to a complete halt after the vote.
However, the NATO chief said he was confident “that also after the midterms, there will still be a clear majority in the Congress – in the House and in the Senate – for continued significant support to Ukraine.”
Washington’s assistance to Kiev must be maintained “partly because if [Russian President Vladimir] Putin wins in Ukraine, that will be a catastrophe for the Ukrainians,” he added.
According to Stoltenberg, the continued military presence of the US and also Canada in Europe was, overall, “essential for the strength and the credibility of that transatlantic bond.”
The US has been Ukraine’s strongest backer since the outbreak of its conflict with Russia in late February, providing Kiev with weapons, funds and intelligence. Washington has already supplied more than $17 billion in military aid to Zelensky’s government – far more than European countries have committed collectively. The deliveries of American arms have included sophisticated hardware such as HIMARS multiple rocket launchers, M777 howitzers, and combat drones.
Moscow has consistently criticized Western aid to Kiev, saying it only prolongs the fighting and increases the risk of a direct confrontation between Russia and NATO.