Jens Stoltenberg, who attended the meeting of the defense ministers of the European Union (EU) countries in Sweden, made a statement to the journalists before the meeting. NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg stated that there have been intense clashes in and around Bahmut in recent weeks, and that Russia has deployed more troops here.
Stating that the Russian forces suffered serious losses, Stoltenberg said, "At the same time, we cannot ignore that Bakhmut may fall in the coming days. It should be emphasized that this situation will not be a turning point in the war. This underlines that we should not underestimate Russia. We must continue to support Ukraine."
Stating that NATO allies gave 150 billion Euros of military, financial and economic support to Ukraine in the last year, Stoltenberg noted that 65 billion Euros of this was military support.
Emphasizing the need to keep its own weapons and ammunition stocks full while supporting Ukraine, Stoltenberg said that in addition to increasing defense industry production, some NATO allies are continuing to work on joint purchases.
Stoltenberg reminded that he met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a few weeks ago, on the question of whether the meeting to be held tomorrow at NATO headquarters in Brussels between Turkish, Swedish and Finnish officials would yield any results.
Stating that, in addition to many other issues, Sweden and Finland also discussed the membership issue, Stoltenberg continued as follows:
"We are making progress. President Erdogan has accepted the resumption of negotiations. A meeting will be held between Finland, Sweden and Türkiye at NATO headquarters tomorrow. After a long time without a meeting, this meeting is important in itself. Membership is a process and I do not expect the process to conclude tomorrow. I believe that Sweden and Finland will become a member of NATO. This is our top priority."
Asked if he confirmed reports that a pro-Ukrainian group carried out the attack on the Nord Stream gas pipeline last year, Stoltenberg said, "What we do know is that there was a sabotage to the pipeline, but we have not been able to determine who was behind it."
Reminding that some countries are continuing their own investigations, Stoltenberg emphasized that it is necessary to wait for these to be completed in order to determine who carried out the attack.