The Black Sea is very important for NATO. NATO condemns Russia's withdrawal from the Black Sea grain deal but appreciates Türkiye's efforts to reinstate the grain agreement in talks with Russia, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told a joint committee meeting of the European Parliament.
"The Black Sea has a great importance for NATO. We condemn Russia's withdrawal from the Black Sea grain deal. We welcome Türkiye's efforts to revive the grain deal," NATO chief said.
Stoltenberg also noted that the best way to ensure the safe shipment of grain from Ukraine was for the war to end, and said that the agreement was one of the ways to mitigate some of the consequences of the war.
In his speech, Stoltenberg stated that strengthening cooperation between NATO and the EU has been a priority for him since he took office as NATO Secretary General in 2014.
"I believe in NATO-EU cooperation because we share the same values and the same challenges. We are two different organizations, but we have a lot in common,” Stoltenberg said.
The NATO chief said that after Sweden joined the alliance, the proportion of European Union (EU) citizens living under the NATO umbrella reached 96 percent.
"It is good to see that in recent years we have been able to strengthen NATO-EU cooperation in cyber, space, critical infrastructure, and military areas, and we are working together in the Western Balkans, in Kosovo, in the Aegean Sea, in the fight against illegal migration in many other regions," he emphasized.
Stoltenberg emphasized that NATO-EU cooperation has always been important and that the war in Ukraine has increased the importance of this cooperation, but that Russian President Vladimir Putin made two major strategic mistakes when he invaded Ukraine.
"This is the biggest war we have seen in Europe since the Second World War. This makes it all the more important that we stand together. Putin has made two major strategic mistakes in this process,” Stoltenberg said.
“First and foremost, he underestimated the strength, determination, and courage of the Ukrainian people, Ukrainian political leaders and the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The other major strategic mistake he made was to underestimate our willingness and determination to support Ukraine through economic sanctions, politically and most importantly militarily,” he added.
Stoltenberg praised the Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway, which decided to deliver F-16s to Ukraine, and reminded that many allies also decided to provide F-16 training to Ukrainian pilots and technicians. Stoltenberg stated that at the NATO summit in July, member states decided to continue supporting Ukraine.
"We have also made progress in the process of Ukraine's NATO membership. We appreciate that the European Union has granted them candidate status. In NATO, we took important decisions at the Vilnius summit that will help Ukraine move closer to membership,” he stressed.
"Türkiye has made it clear that they will approve Sweden's accession as soon as possible. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated this many times. Therefore, I expect that when the Turkish Grand National Assembly reconvenes this autumn, it will ratify Sweden's accession as soon as possible. We will then have 32 allies with Sweden and Finland becoming members," Stoltenberg noted.
Source: Ihlas News Agency