We, the Heads of State and Government of the 30 NATO countries, have gathered today to confront Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the most serious threat to Euro-Atlantic security since decades. Russia’s war against Ukraine has broken the peace in Europe and is causing enormous human suffering and destruction.
We condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the strongest possible terms. We call on President Putin to immediately stop this war and withdraw military forces from Ukraine, and call on Belarus to end its complicity, in accordance with the resolution on aggression against Ukraine adopted by the General Assembly of United Nations on March 2, 2022. Russia must comply with the March 16 Judgment of the United Nations International Court of Justice and immediately suspend military operations. Russia’s attack on Ukraine threatens global security. His attack on international standards makes the world less safe. President Putin’s escalating rhetoric is irresponsible and destabilizing.
Ukrainians inspired the world with heroic resistance to Russia’s brutal war of conquest. We strongly condemn Russia’s devastating attacks against civilians, including women, children and people in vulnerable situations. We will work with the rest of the international community to hold accountable those responsible for violations of humanitarian and international law, including war crimes. We are deeply concerned about the increased risk of sexual violence and human trafficking. We urge Russia to allow rapid, safe and unimpeded humanitarian access and safe passage for civilians, and to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid to Mariupol and other besieged cities. We also condemn attacks on civilian infrastructure, including those that endanger nuclear power plants. We will continue to counter Russia’s lies about its attack on Ukraine and expose fabricated narratives or fabricated false flag operations to set the stage for further escalation, including against Ukraine’s civilian population. Any use by Russia of a chemical or biological weapon would be unacceptable and would have serious consequences.
Russia must show that it is serious about negotiations by immediately implementing a ceasefire. We call on Russia to constructively engage in credible negotiations with Ukraine to achieve concrete results, starting with a lasting ceasefire and moving towards a full withdrawal of its troops from Ukrainian territory. Russia’s continued aggression as the talks take place is deplorable. We support Ukraine’s efforts to achieve peace, as well as those undertaken diplomatically by the Allies to pressure Russia to end the war and alleviate human suffering.
We stand in full solidarity with President Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian government and the courageous Ukrainian citizens who are defending their homeland. We pay tribute to all those who have been killed, injured and displaced by Russian aggression, as well as to their families. We reaffirm our unwavering support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders extending to its territorial waters.
Ukraine has a fundamental right to self-defence under the UN Charter. Since 2014, we have largely supported Ukraine’s ability to exercise this right. We trained the Ukrainian Armed Forces, strengthened their military capabilities and capabilities, and improved their resilience. NATO Allies have stepped up their support and will continue to provide additional political and practical support to Ukraine as it continues to defend itself. NATO Allies will also continue to provide assistance in areas such as cybersecurity and protection against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats. NATO Allies also provide significant humanitarian support and host millions of refugees. Foreign ministers will discuss our support for Ukraine in more detail when they meet in April.
We are united in our determination to counter Russia’s attempts to destroy the foundations of international security and stability. We hold Russia and Belarus to account. Massive sanctions and heavy political costs were imposed on Russia in order to end this war. We remain determined to maintain coordinated international pressure on Russia. We will continue to coordinate closely with relevant stakeholders and other international organizations, including the European Union. Transatlantic coordination remains crucial for an effective response to the current crisis.
We call on all states, including the People’s Republic of China (PRC), to respect the international order, including the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, to refrain from supporting Russia’s war effort in any way and refrain from any action that helps Russia evade sanctions. We are concerned about recent public comments by PRC officials and call on China to stop amplifying the Kremlin’s false narratives, especially about the war and NATO, and promote a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
We remain committed to the fundamental principles that underpin European and global security, including that each nation has the right to choose its own security arrangements without outside interference. We reaffirm our commitment to NATO’s open door policy under Article 10 of the Washington Treaty.
We are providing tailored support to partners affected by Russian threats and interference and will scale up our assistance to help them resist malign Russian influence and build resilience, based on requests from our partners and our long-standing partnership. In April, foreign ministers will consider concrete proposals to strengthen our support for these partners.
We will continue to take all necessary measures to protect and defend the security of our Allied populations and every inch of Allied territory. Our commitment to Article 5 of the Washington Treaty is unwavering.
In response to Russia’s actions, we have activated NATO defense plans, deployed elements of the NATO Response Force and placed 40,000 troops on our eastern flank, as well as significant air and naval forces, under direct NATO command supported by Allied national deployments. We are also fielding four additional multinational battlegroups in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. We take all measures and decisions to ensure the security and defense of all Allies in all areas and with a 360 degree approach. Our measures remain preventive, proportionate and not progressive. We will now accelerate NATO’s transformation towards a more dangerous strategic reality, including through the adoption of the next Strategic Concept in Madrid. In light of the most serious threat to Euro-Atlantic security in decades, we will also significantly strengthen our long-term deterrence and defense posture and further develop the full range of ready forces and capabilities needed to maintain credible deterrence and defence. These measures will be supported by reinforced exercises with greater emphasis on collective defense and interoperability.
We are increasing the resilience of our societies and infrastructures to counter the harmful influence of Russia. We strengthen our cyber capabilities and defenses by supporting each other in the event of cyber attacks. We stand ready to impose costs on those who harm us in cyberspace, and increase information sharing and situational awareness, improving civilian preparedness and strengthening our ability to respond to disinformation. We will also improve our preparedness and readiness for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats. We will make other decisions when we meet in Madrid.
The steps we take to ensure the security of our Alliance and the Euro-Atlantic area will require adequate resources. The Allies dramatically increase their defense spending. Today, we have decided to accelerate our efforts to fulfill our commitment to the Defense Investment Pledge in its entirety. In accordance with our commitment in Article 3 of the Washington Treaty, we will further strengthen our individual and collective capacity to resist all forms of attack. At our meeting in Madrid, we will submit additional plans on how to fulfill the Commitment.
Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine represents a fundamental challenge to the values and norms that have brought security and prosperity to all on the European continent. President Putin’s choice to attack Ukraine is a strategic mistake, with serious consequences also for Russia and the Russian people. We remain united and resolute in our determination to oppose Russian aggression, to assist the government and people of Ukraine, and to defend the security of all Allies.