NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that Russia has launched war on Ukraine and shattered peace on the European continent. “Russia has attacked Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said. “This is a brutal act of war. Our thoughts are with the brave people of Ukraine.”
What Is an Act of War?
An act of war is an aggressive act committed by one state against another. It is most commonly used to refer to hostile actions by a government during peacetime that give other states a justification for declaring war, or casus belli.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg following an extraordinary meeting of the North Atlantic Council (As delivered):
Russia has attacked Ukraine. This is a brutal act of war. Our thoughts are with the brave people of Ukraine.
Sadly, what we have warned against for months has come to pass. Despite all calls on Russia to change course and tireless efforts to seek a diplomatic solution. Peace in our continent has been shattered. We now have war in Europe, on a scale and of a type we thought belong to history. We have just finished an emergency meeting of the North Atlantic Council to discuss the situation. The Council also addressed the request by Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia to hold urgent consultations under Article 4 of the Washington Treaty.
This is a grave moment for the security of Europe.
Russia’s unjustified and unprovoked attack on Ukraine is putting countless innocent lives at risk. With air and missile attacks. Ground forces and special forces from multiple directions. Targeting military infrastructure and major urban centres. This is a deliberate, cold-blooded and long-planned invasion. Despite its litany of lies, denials, and disinformation, the Kremlin’s intentions are clear for the world to see. Russia’s leaders bear full responsibility for their reckless actions and the lives lost.
NATO Allies condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the strongest possible terms.
This is a blatant violation of international law. An act of aggression against a sovereign, independent and peaceful country. And a serious threat to Euro-Atlantic security. We call on Russia to immediately cease its military action. Withdraw its forces from Ukraine. And choose diplomacy. We fully support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. And Ukraine’s right of self-defence. Russia is using force to try to rewrite history. And deny Ukraine its free and independent path.
NATO’s core task is to protect and defend all Allies.
There must be no room for miscalculation or misunderstanding. An attack on one will be regarded as an attack on all. This is our collective security guarantee. Today, the North Atlantic Council decided to activate our defence plans, At the request of our top military commander, General Tod Wolters. This is a prudent and defensive step to protect and shield Allied nations during this crisis. And it will enable us to deploy capabilities and forces, including the NATO Response Force, to where they are needed.
In response to Russia’s massive military build-up, we have already strengthened our collective defence. On land, at sea, and in the air.
In the last weeks, Allies from North America and Europe have deployed thousands of more troops to the eastern part of the Alliance. And placed more on standby. We have over 100 jets at high alert, protecting our airspace. And more than 120 Allied ships at sea, from the High North to the Mediterranean.
All this shows that our collective defence commitment Article 5 is ironclad. And we will continue to do whatever is necessary to shield the Alliance from aggression. I have called a virtual Summit of NATO leaders tomorrow, to address the way forward. Russia is now facing severe costs and consequences imposed by the whole international community.
The Kremlin’s aim is to re-establish its sphere of influence. Rip up the global rules that have kept us all safe for decades. And subvert the values that we hold dear. This is the new normal for our security.
Peace cannot be taken for granted. Freedom and democracy are contested by authoritarian regimes. And strategic competition is on the rise.
We must respond. With renewed resolve. And even stronger unity. North America and Europe, together in NATO.
We are an Alliance of 30 democracies. Standing as one, We will protect our people and our values.
Democracy will always prevail over autocracy. Freedom will always prevail over oppression.