MADRID: NATO’s support for Ukraine is unbreakable and Russian President Vladimir Putin will not achieve his objectives in the country his forces invaded on Feb. 24, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Monday.
The war in Ukraine and the applications by Finland and Sweden to join the defensive alliance that it has triggered are set to dominate a summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization that Sanchez will host in Madrid over June 28-30.
“Supporting Ukraine with determination is the only way to ensure that the Europe and the world we have built has a certain future,” the prime minister told an event marking the 40th anniversary of Spain’s NATO membership.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at the same event that the “cold blast of conflict” would overshadow the historic summit.
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Ukrainian forces were battling on Monday to hold on to the ruined city of Sievierodonetsk in Luhansk province, which has become the focus of Moscow’s offensive as it tries to take control of the eastern Donbas region, one of Putin’s war aims.
Finland and Sweden have formally applied to join NATO following Russia’s invasion of its neighbour, reversing generations of military non-alignment.
But Turkey has objected to the Nordic countries joining, holding up a deal that would allow for a historic enlargement of the alliance.
In Madrid on Monday, Stoltenberg said the Spanish NATO conference would also address the threat from its southern flank.
“I hope that the Madrid conference gives us a chance for a step forward to confront the challenges of the south. The instability in the south is dangerous for the whole of NATO,” he said in an interview with Spanish radio COPE.