Sanchez at the 68th NATO Parliamentary Assembly Putin leave Ukraine

Sánchez, at the 68th NATO Parliamentary Assembly: “Putin, leave Ukraine alone” | Spain

The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, has sent this Monday a “resounding message” to the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, in the plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Atlantic Alliance, which is meeting in Madrid: “Leave Ukraine alone”. As long as this “absurd war” does not end, the head of the Executive has warned, the allied countries will remain united alongside the Ukrainian government, in defense of democracy, sovereignty and territorial integrity of their country. Sánchez has assured that NATO has emerged strengthened “in the face of the foolish calculations” of the Russian president, and has praised “the promptness, determination and intelligence” with which the Alliance reacted to the invasion. Looking to the future, he has called for “firmness, unity and temperance” to be maintained, avoiding an escalation of the conflict; and, as an example, he has cited the allied reaction to the “accidental impact of a missile” on Polish territory last week, implicitly ruling out that it was a Russian attack, as Ukraine claimed.

“Containment cannot be confused with passivity”, added Pedro Sánchez, who warned that “war crimes cannot go unpunished”, recalling that Spain has already sent a team of police officers to Ukraine to collaborate with its judicial authorities, and that the enemy is not the Russian people, but “the autocracy led by Putin.”

Sánchez has estimated the Spanish contribution to the defense of Ukraine through the European Union fund to finance the purchase of weapons at almost 270 million euros; has announced that the Ukrainian Army training center in Toledo will be fully operational by the end of this month (with the capacity to train 400 soldiers every two months) and has praised the solidarity reaction of Spanish society, recalling that more than 135,000 Ukrainian refugees has been temporarily welcomed in Spain.

Stoltenberg and Sánchez participate in the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, in Madrid, on November 21, 2022.Photo: PA | Video: Reuters

For his part, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has warned allied parliamentarians of the need to be prepared for a long war. Despite the fact that Putin has made “two strategic mistakes” (underestimating the courage of the Ukrainian people and the unity of the Atlantic Alliance) and suffered setbacks on the ground, “it would be a mistake to underestimate the Russian military capacity”, he has said. “We have to be ready to support Ukraine [durante] a long time,” he insisted. “We cannot think that democracies cannot sustain their efforts over time.”

Stoltenberg has taken it for granted that the war will end at a negotiating table, but has warned that “if we want an acceptable result for Ukraine, the way to achieve it is to increase our support for Ukraine.” “We want negotiation, but we don’t want a result that means [el triunfo del] brutal use of force,” he stressed. “Putin cannot win, it would be a catastrophe.”

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In the question time to which he has been submitted by the parliamentarians, the NATO Secretary General has made self-criticism, assuring that his organization should have started providing military support to Ukraine much earlier and has asked that the attack not be committed. Same mistake with Moldova and Georgia. He has assured that at the Vilnius (Lithuania) summit in July 2023, NATO will set its military spending target for the next decade, but he has assumed that 2% of GDP will no longer be a ceiling but a floor and that we will have to spend more on defense.

The war in Ukraine has marked the 68th annual session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, which has been held since Friday in Madrid. Despite not belonging to NATO, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is scheduled to close the plenary meeting, which is attended by 269 parliamentarians from the 30 allied countries and a dozen delegations from associated and observer countries, including those from Ukraine. , Finland and Sweden, who already have a foot in the organization. Previously, Olha Stefanishyna, Deputy Prime Minister for Europe and Euro-Atlantic Integration of the Government of kyiv, intervened.

The plenary session was opened by its president until now, US Congressman Gerald E. Connelly, who has warned that the authoritarianism that threatens Western countries does not come only from Russia or China but also from within their societies and has expressly mentioned the assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2020 by supporters of Donald Trump.