May 21, 2022

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Live updates: Russia invades Ukraine

Live updates: Russia invades Ukraine

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a press release ahead of the extraordinary meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on March 4 (Yves Herman/AP)

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday denounced Russia’s “brutal” invasion of Ukraine, condemning the attacks on civilians and on the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in Enerhodar, southeast Ukraine.

“We condemn the attacks on civilians. Throughout the night, we also saw reports of the attack on the nuclear power plant,” Stoltenberg said. He said At a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, ahead of a meeting with Western foreign ministers in Brussels.

“This only shows the recklessness of this war, the importance of ending it, the importance of Russia withdrawing all its forces and engaging in good faith in diplomatic efforts,” Stoltenberg added.

He said that while NATO allies “implemented unprecedented sanctions” on Russia and provided “support” to Ukraine, “NATO is not part of the conflict.”

“We do not seek war and conflict with Russia.

“At the same time, we need to make sure there is no misunderstanding about our commitment to defend and protect all allies.”

He said NATO forces had strengthened their “defensive presence” in the eastern part of the alliance.

Stoltenberg also called on the United States, Europe and Canada to provide support.

“I welcome the strong commitment of the United States to more troops,” he said.

“I met many of them. It is always great to meet US forces in Europe and see their commitment and professionalism as part of the transatlantic association.

“I also welcome that European allies and Canada are stepping up with a greater presence in the eastern part of the Alliance, on land, at sea and in the air.

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“If anything, I think the crisis we are facing now illustrates the importance of North America standing together in strategic solidarity at NATO,” he added.

Also responding to the attack, British Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab told BBC Breakfast, “It’s very hard to believe it wasn’t done on purpose. But in any case, it’s illegal to attack a site like this, not do your due diligence on it and keep on bombing it.”

Ukrainian authorities said Russian forces had occupied Ukraine’s Zaporizhia nuclear power plant after a fire broke out at the facility early Friday morning.

The fire was put out early Friday morning.