NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg insisted on Wednesday that the alliance has not increased its military presence in Eastern Europe so the Belarusian authorities cannot use it “as an excuse or pretext” to forcibly suppress the demonstrations that have been pro-democracy Weeks filling the streets of the country.
Arriving at the informal meeting of EU defense ministers in Berlin, Stoltenberg pointed out that the Belarusian people should be able to choose their future freely and demanded respect for the country’s sovereignty and territorial unity.
“NATO remains vigilant and ready to protect its allies, but its military presence in the region is not increasing. Using NATO as a pretext and excuse for suppressing the demonstrations is by no means justified,” said the Norwegian politician.
The Allied leader has responded in this way to recent movements in Minsk after the Belarusian Defense Ministry put part of the armed forces on alert and called reservists.