By Agnes Szucs
BRUSSELS (AA) – NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg ruled out on Friday recognizing Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions.
“NATO allies do not and will not recognize any of these territories as part of Russia” because “this land grab is illegal and illegitimate,” Stoltenberg told a news conference.
He asserted that the “sham referendums” organized in Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson regions “were engineered in Moscow and imposed on Ukraine in total violation of international law.”
NATO calls on all states to reject Russia's blatant attempts at territorial conquest, he added.
Stoltenberg pointed out that the war in Ukraine has reached a “pivotal moment” because the partial mobilization, the illegal annexation, and the nuclear threats show that Russian President Vladimir’s war “is not going according to plan.”
Putin "has utterly failed in its strategic objectives,” he further said.
He also reiterated that NATO must continue supporting Ukraine because it will make the world even more dangerous if the country fails to exist as an independent state.
Otherwise, Putin or other authoritarian powers “will see that with impunity one can use military force and invade its neighbor,” Stoltenberg explained.