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tv   White House Press Secretary Holds Briefing  CSPAN  February 24, 2022 3:45pm-4:48pm EST

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massive pipeline, it's not on the cards. host: monty, democrat, good morning. you are next. caller: thanks for taking my call. quick observation, it seems to me that russia is at war with ukraine, finally. it seems to me, as for the world, on a larger scale, the war between democracy and authoritarianism has begun. guest: yes, russia represents a different worldview. it has a long autocratic mission, and russia now has used its history, or putin has used its history to justify what is a violation of international law. yes, the idea that somehow we would cohabitate in the 1970's and 1980's, and the idea that somehow we could make russia a
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democratic country in the 1990's and 2000s, i think that is off the agenda for the time being, and it won't return for a long time. host: nashville, tennessee. corey, independence. good morning. -- corey, independent. good morning. caller: yeah, thank you for taking my call. i have two things, but i want to make a shout out to yuri bensmanov, who wrote a love letter to america in 1984. he pretty much predicted all of this. secondly, i think the federal government should make an alliance with india, based on the fact that putin has made with china -- met with china, argentina, and pakistan. that's all i wanted to say. host: to putin's designs outside of ukraine, what could this teach us about what he is
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seeking? guest: at the present time, i think he is seeking the conquest of ukraine. whether that will go into the other post warsaw pact nations, poland, and so forth, the baltic states, we will have to see. but unfortunately, everything is on the table in terms of reacting to putin. and i don't think that his aspirations will just be limited to ukraine. host: what could congress consider when they come back next week? this is a tweet from congressman darren soto, saying we have already armed ukraine and provided over a billion dollars in aid recently, to ukraine. further aid should be authorized by congress without delay. what are the next steps that you see? guest: i think congress will
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return to the questions of sanctions, and congress will actually demand that biden introduced severe sanctions on russia. you might remember that six months ago, biden decided not to introduce sanctions on the companies that had built the nord stream 2 pipeline, because he wanted to reestablish good relations with europe and with germany. i think that is now established, a good relationship with germany and the new leadership in germany, but congress will step up and demand that the president have the sanctions on ukraine -- on russia. host: mesa, arizona. jan, republican, good morning. caller: yes, i just want to say, my heart bleeds for the ukrainian people. i mean, you watch them, and they were living a life like we were
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living here america. they were trying to be good. i mean, russia is bad. their leaders, their past leaders have been absolute crooks. this is so sad to watch. putin doesn't want to see that. he doesn't want to see a country that is happy that has democracy. that would mess it up for his own country. but this oil thing, this food thing, and this inflation thing, this is all by biden. they can put all these little tricks that they want, but it isn't. this is biden's stuff, the oil. biden has done this to our food. he says it's inflation -- we can't buy a car. we have always been able to buy a car. we can't afford a car. host: we will keep the focus on ukraine and russia right now. mr. pomeranz, in terms of where the russian economy is weakest and where sanctions would hurt most, for folks who are not mill -- are not familiar right now
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with what's going on with the russian economy, can you give a bit of an overview? guest: well, the russian economy is under pressure right now. there has been rising inflation. russia is not a global economic power, so what the united states can do is impose sanctions on the financial system. we can impose sanctions on putin's cronies, and we can impose strict export controls on the technology that russia needs. i think that is the basic element of the so-called massive sanctions that biden will use. -- biden will introduce. it will be very interesting to see if biden can explain, can convince the europeans to go along with the expulsion of russia from the swiss system, but i think what i outlined above are the basic elements of the sanctions program. host: who are the oligarchs? are we talking dozens, hundreds?
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guest: oligarchs, you can put various things to them, but they are the economic elite of russia. one could also call them the robber barons of russia. but these are the people who have accumulated vast fortunes after the collapse of the soviet union. and for the most part, basically all of them have sworn loyalty to putin and to the russian state. so, going after the oligarchs, their wealth, will be a major consequence of this action. i don't think, at least at the beginning, they will rebel against putin. i think they will take it on the chin. but going after the economic elite of russia is basically behind the program of going after oligarchs. host: is vladimir putin more
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dependent on the oligarchs, or are the oligarchs more dependent on vladimir putin? who is in charge? guest: the oligarchs are more dependent on vladimir putin. they do not challenge him politically, and their wealth is largely dependent on their loyalty to vladimir putin. as you recall, there have been various attempts to go after oligarchs, who are deemed disloyal to putin, the trial and conviction of mikhail porokofsky is the best example. host: does putin care if they lose a megayacht? guest: no. host: so what would going after them mean? what is the point? guest: to go after the finances sequestered abroad. to go after the banks and bank accounts, and their exclusive lives that they have led in the west, or making sure that the oligarchs who are still in russia, and there are several oligarchs who are still in
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russia, can't travel and roam around the world and visit their various bank accounts in the cayman islands, and so forth. host: spring, texas. mike, independent. good morning. caller: good morning. my question is, given the current administration, do you think if, under the former one, we would be in this? guest: honestly, former president trump has made various statements, calling vladimir putin a genius. it is quite clear, i think, that he would not challenge putin during this type of operation. so, i don't think the previous administration would have challenged him. indeed, i think there is more of a likelihood that they would have given him the green light to engage in these activities.
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host: olga, miami, florida, democrat. good morning. guest: hi, i was wondering if you could explain what to expect from the united nations, regarding this violation of sovereignty? thank you. guest: obviously, russia is on the security council and will veto any sort of condemnation that the united nations wants to put out. host: can you explain why the russian ambassador is in the chairman seat of this council, when we have been watching the meetings this week? why does he hold the gavel, while they are speaking? guest: i assume the speaker is appointed via rotation, so i would assume, and i don't know the exact answer, that it is simply russia's time to be in the speaker seat.
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host: mystic, connecticut. david, republican. good morning. caller: good morning. i was always taught that the best defense is offense. why aren't we opening up our wells, drilling in the gulf, myanmar, and our pipelines? the other question, i don't see where ukraine is doing any offense. guest: well, ukraine is outmanned at the present time. it will be on the defense for a while, because of the massive assault led by the russian troops. whether this changes u.s. policy, in terms of oil exploration, that is speculation, but i think ukraine has to be on the defensive, at least in the beginning. but i think if russia wants to occupy ukraine, it will face significant challenges and resistance from the ukrainian people.
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host: in terms of an outmanned military, this from the bbc -- their map. again, these could be a little outdated numbers by this point, but showing the numbers here, an active duty military in ukraine, around 200,000. russia, close to one million. a reserve corps of 2 million in russia, around 900,000 in ukraine. the attack aircraft disparity, some 1500 to 98 attack helicopters, over 534 tanks. 12,000 to maybe 2500, and so on down the line. that estimation, by the bbc and the global firepower accounting. this is grant in washington, d.c., independent. good morning. caller: good morning. some of the questions are very
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uncomfortable questions. one of my questions for next friday is, why is it ok for morocco to be supported in its occupation and annexation of western zahara under the abraham accords plans under trump and supported by biden. and why is israel's annexation and exploitation of the golan heights, which it captured in a war of aggression in march, ok, and russia's occupation and invasion of ukraine is not ok. can you answer, why some annexations and occupations o.k. from the u.s. standpoint and others are absolutely not? guest: i will not go through the entire explanation for all these
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various occupations, but in ukraine, we need to emphasize, and you need to consider, that russia recognized the sovereignty of ukraine in something called the budapest memorandum. and in terms of ukraine, they actually went through a denuclearization process and returned all their nukes in light of the security guarantee. so, russia recognized the sovereignty of ukraine. it has now violated that sovereignty and occupied, is attempting to occupy ukraine. and in this instance, the whole european security architecture and post-cold war sentiment is under threat. i think that is why the occupation of ukraine has risen to such importance in the past 24 hours. host: you mentioned the russian commitments under the budapest memorandum. what about the u.s. commitment?
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what did we say we would do? guest: we said we would not only recognize ukraine sovereignty, but come to the defense of ukraine. obviously it is about a military alliance. obviously, ukraine is not a member of nato, so it does not have the section five guarantee of a response, but we are also responsible for guaranteeing the independence of ukraine. biden has basically said that we are not going to intervene militarily, but we do have a moral, and, i would argue, a legal responsibility to defend ukraine, especially in light of this incredible violation of international law. host: i know it's a busy day for you. two more calls for you while we have you. robert in virginia, republican. go ahead. caller: i am not a republican, i am an independent. that was a mistake in the dialing.
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my question is, one, i was in moscow earlier this year, and sanctions don't seem to do much. every time there are sanctions put on place, they build up the infrastructure internally. they put embargoes on cheeses from countries like italy and france, and ham from germany, they just started manufacturing their own parmesan in-house and grilling turkeys, so they just became stronger, and substituted one for the other. secondly, i have family over there in moscow, and i wonder what this is going to do for our diplomatic relations and the ability to travel back and forth. so, those are the two questions i have for you, sir. host: mr. pomeranz? guest: i think travel will become much more difficult. we have already experienced difficulties getting visas from the russian embassy and experienced issues with the u.s. embassy in moscow, so i think travel will become more complicated in light of this action.
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the caller raises an important issue about sanctions. russia has introduced a policy of import substitution, and indeed, one of the consequences of sanctions is that russia may try to increase their investment in the technology that is embargoed through sanctions. so that obviously is a risk in any introduction of a sanctions program. host: last call, mike, out of las vegas, democrat. good morning. caller: i have a question. for several weeks, this has been building up and building up. i am wondering why the u.n. did not put a force in ukraine?
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guest: the osce has engaged in peacekeeping operations and monitoring situations in the donbass, but there was not an incident such as one that -- as what has occurred over the last 24 hours that demanded a un presence in ukraine. i think that's why the u.n. has discussed ukraine, but has not engaged in putting troops on the ground. host: i know it's a busy day, and we appreciate you joining us for the beginning of it. thank you for joining us. the wilson center's acting director there. we will talk to you down the line. guest: thank you. >> good morning.
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just a few observations on where we are today. russia has begun an unprovoked, unjustified, and brutal campaign against ukraine with a full on invasion. the civilians are being killed. ukraine is mobilizing its opposition to the russian invasion. and we must provide ukraine with support to defend itself. we are also going to need to dramatically escalate the sanctions that we place on russia for this act of naked aggression by the kremlin dictator. we need to sanction the largest banks in russia. we have to cut off russia from the international financing system and its ability to access the western capital. we need to attack its ability to gather sophisticated technology for its weapons systems. we have to go after more of its oligarchs.
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and we he took intended to strengthen our nato defense is in the region to protect our nato allies. this is a terrible tragedy for the people of ukraine. i think it is the result of a kremlin dictator terrified of the development of democracies on its border. showing the russian people that they can enjoy a better quality of life than under the despotism of vladimir putin. this attack on ukrainian democracy i think is a threat to democracy everywhere. in the international community is united and must stay united in the most severe sanction regime against russia that the allies have ever put together. with that, i am happy to respond to a few questions. reporter: putin made it clear that he will use russian energy dominance -- is it time for us to abandon climate focused
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pipelines and increase u.s. oil and gas production in full force? >> i don't think the response ought to be the dismantling of our protections against climate change. i do think what it ought to prompt is a wholesale effort to wean europe off of russian oil and gas so that russia can no longer use that as leverage against zero. -- against europe. it ought to spell out at a minimum the final death of nord stream 2. so i think that ought to be our response to russian's use of oil and gas is a geopolitical weapon. yes? reporter: there's been reporting this morning that putin [indiscernible] -- better-than-expected. what have you learned?
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what is going on on the battlefield right now? >> just going over some of the reports about this, i think it is still unclear, hard for us to evaluate the success or the difficulty that the ukrainian armed forces are running into. it is a terrible mismatch. the russians have the military capability to overwhelm ukrainian forces. but ukrainians are determined to fight and to protect their homeland. while i think we are likely to see russia very quickly overrun ukraine, i also think that this will be a long and bloodied campaign. a pointless, needless disastrous campaign. and that may take months. it may take years. all along the way, we need to have ukraine's back. reporter: do you think there's any situation where american citizens could engage with the american troops?
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>> i don't think there's any situation where we will have american boots on the ground in ukraine. we will defend our nato allies. and the biden administration has moved personnel to nato countries, to make sure we sure up nato defenses. in congress, we stand ready to provide additional support, to help protect our nato allies. but i think the president has made it very clear we are not going to war in ukraine but we will honor our article five obligation to our nato allies. reporter: sanctions were imposed after crimea. [indiscernible] > we have to hope the sanctions -- >> we have to hope the sanctions imposed now are far more severe than 2014 and are sustained as long as russian forces occupy ukraine and i hope some will go on indefinitely. the russian people need to be
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made to understand the folly of their dictator. that is not going to happen, unless there's a long-term -- unless there are long-term, sustained sanctions. as i said from the very beginning of the russian acute relational forces, it seemed to be apparent that this is what putin was going to do and nothing was going to stop him. but we can do a lot to make the costs to the kremlin unsustainable. economically unsustainable, and by providing defensive militaries to support ukraine, unsustainable for russian forces. reporter: you talked about cutting off russia from international finances. is there something that congress needs to do to give the president more sanction authority? what do you think congress' role is? >> i think he probably has all the authority he needs.
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but i can say this, with confidence, on a bipartisan basis, if there's any authority he doesn't have that he does need to increase sanctions on russia, he will get it from congress. and i think that congress on a bipartisan basis will be willing to provide whatever resources are necessary to help ukraine defend itself. reporter: what is a concern here about the cyberattacks? what do everyday americans need to know? how do they guard against that? >> i think there are a couple of concerns in the cyber arena. the first is that russian tools used to attack ukraine and the cyber realm may not stay within ukraine. we have seen in the past russian deploy -- russia deploy cyber attacks at a particular target, but those tools get into the wild and cause global damage. so i think one present concern is with the kremlin's directing
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at ukraine may not stay in ukraine in terms of the cyber attack. the other possibility is that putin lashes out at the united states and nato. in this kind of hybrid warfare, it deploys cyber tools to attack american companies, or american infrastructure. we have to hope and pray that doesn't happen. but in warfare, the result is the risk of escalation. in terms of what the american people can do, the biden administration has made american companies aware that they need to follow best practices to secure cyber defenses, to reduce their vulnerability to either any intended or unintended consequences of russian cyber actions. reporter: have we seen any evidence of that so far? >> i have not seen evidence
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myself. of russian cyber action directed at the u.s. over ukraine. but it is very early in the conflict. reporter: there's talk of adding supplemental -- march 11th. something needs to be done sooner than that to get funding out the door to where it is needed. >> we will work hand-in-hand with the administration, if they need something sooner, we will deliver something sooner. but i'm very confident that both parties understand the importance of providing assistance to ukraine, to our nato allies, and we will do that as promptly as necessary. and we will work to coordinate with the administration. reporter: [indiscernible] >> i don't know.
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but i think congress wants to make sure that our allies have the resources they need. and we will meet that obligation. thank you. reporter: what's the message to republicans? . [indiscernible] -- reporter: [indiscernible] is that what you mean by financial -- ok. thank you. >> good afternoon.
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> the secretary-general -- >> the secretary general will be making a statement. we will not be taking questions today. >> we have seen russian military operations the sovereign territory of ukraine in a scale that we have not seen in decades. they after day, i have been clear that such measures conflict with the united nations chapter. the chapter is clear and i quote, "all members should refrain on the threats or use of force against the territorial integrity and the political independence of any states or in any other manner inconsistent with the purpose of the united nations. the use of force by one country against another is the repudiation of the principles that every country has committed to a pole.
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and this applies to the present military offenses. it is wrong, it is against the charter, it is unacceptable, but it is not a reversible. i repeat my appeal from last night to president putin. stop the military operation. bring the troops back to russia. we know the toll of war. we are seeing fear in ukraine. people always pay the highest price. every day innocent people. we end our humanitarian partners are committed to staying and delivering to support people in ukraine in this time of need.
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united nations staff are working on both sides of the contact line, always guided by humanitarian principles of neutrality, impartiality, humanity, and independence. we are providing life-saving him that humanitarian relief to people in need regardless of who or where they are. the protection of civilians must be priority number one. international humanitarian and human rights law must be upheld. the decisions of the coming days will shape our world. and directly affect the lives of millions upon millions of people. in line with the charter. it's not too late to save this generation from the scourge of war. we need peace. thank you. >> [indiscernible] >> thank you.
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[indiscernible conversations] >> good afternoon. russia has attacked ukraine. this is a brutal act of war. our thoughts are with the brave people of ukraine. sadly, what we have warned against for months has come to pass. despite all calls on russia to change course and tireless efforts to seek a diplomatic
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solution. peace on our continent has been shattered. we now have war in europe of a -- on a scale and a type we thought belonged to history. we have just finished a meeting of the north atlantic council to discuss the situation. the council also addressed the request by bulgaria, the czech republic, estonia, latvia, lithuania, poland, romania, and slovakia to hold urgent consultations under article four of the washington treaty. this is a grave moment for the security of europe. russia's unjustified and unprovoked attack on ukraine is putting countless innocent lives at risk. with air and missile attacks,
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ground forces, and special forces from multiple directions, targeting military infrastructure, and major urban centers. this is a deliberate, cold-blooded, and long planned invasion. despite his litany of lies, denials, and misinformation, the kremlin's intentions are clear for the world to see. russia's leaders bear full responsibility for their reckless actions and the lives lost. nato allies condemn russia's invasion of ukraine in the strongest possible terms. it is a blatant violation of international law, an act of aggression against a sovereign, independent, and peaceful country. and a serious threat to atlantic security.
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we call on russia to immediately cease its military action. withdraw its forces from ukraine and choose diplomacy. we fully support ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. and ukraine's right to self-defense. russia is using force to try to rewrite history and deny ukraine its free and independent power. -- independent path. nato's core task is to protect and defend all allies. there must be no room for miscalculation or misunderstanding. an attack on one will be regarded as an attack on all. this is our collective security guarantee. today, the north atlantic
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council decided to activate our defense plans. our top military commander. this is a step to protect and shield other nations during this crisis. and it will enable us to deploy capabilities and forces, including the nato response force, to where they are needed. in response to russia's massive military buildup, we are already strengthening our collective defense on land, at sea, and in the air. in the last weeks, allies from north america and europe have deployed thousands of more troops to the eastern part of the lines and placed more on standby. we have over 100 jets at high alert, protecting our airspace. and more than 120 allied ships at sea from the far north to the
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mediterranean. all this shows that our collective defense commitment, article five, is ironclad. we will continue to do whatever is necessary to shield the lines from aggression. i called a virtual summit on -- summit of nato leaders tomorrow to address the way forward. russia is now facing severe costs and consequences imposed by the whole international community. the kremlin's aim is to reestablish its sphere of influence, that has kept us for -- safe for decades and subvert us to values that we hold dear. this is the new normal for our security. peace cannot be taken for granted.
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freedom and democracy are contested by authoritarian regimes. and strategic competition is on the rise. we must respond with renewed resolve and even stronger unity. north america and europe together in nato. we are an alliance of 30 democracies, standing as one. we will protect our people and our values. democracy will always prevail over autocracy. freedom will always prevail over oppression. and then i am ready to take your questions. >> we will go to ukraine. >> thank you. secretary-general, we all know that nato will not fight for ukraine.
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but don't you think it's time for nato to build onto putin's coalition? thank you. >> nato stands in solitary with ukraine, and nato allies are imposing severe costs on russia for their reckless invasion of ukraine. nato allies in" a nation with the european union and other partners all over the world are now imposing severe economic sanctions on russia to demonstrate that we follow-up on what we said and it will be a high price for russia to pay. nato allies for a very long period of time have also provided practical support, military support to ukraine, and helped them to build russia
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-- to build much stronger and much better trained armed force today than ukraine had in 2014. and i'd like to recognize the bravery of the ukrainian men and women in uniform that are now standing up against the russian invasion. so, we continue to stand together, condemning the russian full-scale invasion of ukraine. and allies stand together also in sending a message that we will never accept the brutal violation of international law that we see taking place, as russia now invades ukraine. >> we'll go to bloomberg. >> do you have any information that shows that nato allies face a direct threat from russia at the moment? and would nato reconsider military intervention in ukraine?
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thank you. >> make no mistake, we will defend and protect every ally against any attack against any nato territory. -- any attack on any inch of nato territory. and that's the reason also we have increased our presence with more troops, ships, and planes over the last week, to send a very clear message that an attack on one ally will be an attack against the alliance. what we do is defensive. to prevent the conflict. it's prudent and it's measured. but it's necessary, because we see the aggressive actions of russia against ukraine. and therefore, allies also have to make sure that there is no room for any misunderstanding
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about anything like that, against a nato allied country. >> national public radio. >> hi, thank you. npr andy w. -- and dw. mr. secretary general, in the next statement, you say that we're deploying additional forces and increase the readiness of forces. is this now, today, more forces being sent as a result of the fact that the invasion has now happened? or are you referring to what has already been done? as reinforcements. i understand it will now have the ability to assemble without coming back for approval. and finally, are you still willing to sit down with president putin or other representatives of the russian government after this? or are you suspending your offer to hold talks on other issues and the nato russia council? thank you. >> this invasion doesn't come as a surprise. we were warned against this for months.
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and sadly, what happened this morning, during the night, was something that allies and security have predicted for a long time. we have tried to prevent this by calling on russia to engage in diplomatic efforts, by telling russia there will be very severe costs, if they invade ukraine further. economic sentience. but what has happened over the last hours demonstrates that russia, despite our diplomatic efforts and despite our messages of economic sanctions, russia decided to once again invade ukraine. but since we have been warning against this for a long period of time, we have also taken prudent measures to prepare ourselves. and that's the reason why we over the last months and weeks have significantly increased the presence of nato troops in the
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eastern part of the alliance. morland troops, ground forces, but also air and naval forces. in the coming days and weeks, there will come even more. so we will further increase, and we are increasing our presence in the eastern part of the alliance. and today, we activate authority that gives our military commanders the ability to move forces and to deploy forces when needed. of course, this could also be elements of the nato response force. so we are ready. we are adjusting our posture. but what we are doing is defensive, is measured, and we don't seek confrontation. we want to prevent the conflict in a nato country. -- prevent a conflict or an attack in any nato allied country. we have reached out to russia for weeks and months.
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and what we have seen is that the russian message has been that they have never taken this -- taken these talks seriously. because why? we were trying to find a political solution. they were planning for this invasion. while we were trying to find a political solution, they were day by day, week by week, increasing their military presence on the border of ukraine. and now the launched invasion. so russia shut the door to a political solution. we regret that. but that's, sadly, the reality, which has very severe consequent -- consequences for ukraine, but also has security concerns for all of us. and that is the reason why we step up our presence in easton parts -- and eastern parts of the alliance. >> thanks a lot for taking the questions.
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secretary-general, actually two questions. the first one, i'd like to hear your reaction to what president putin said this morning, when he announced the military operations. he said that any country that interferes with them would face consequences greater than you have seen in your history, which i take as a veiled threat with a nuclear attack. so, please, what is your response to that? he did not specify what interference means. so please, what is your response to that. he did not specify what interference means appeared the second question, very simple, can the nato russian founding act be upheld in these circumstances? thank you. >> these threatening rhetoric by president putin and the aggressive actions by russia, of course, it is the reason why we are saying we are now faced with a new normal for our security.
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we need to consult closely our allies. we will do that tomorrow when the virtual meeting at the summit. what does this mean for our long-term relationship with russia? how should we compete and protect ours in this new security reality? how can we make sure that we uphold the values to freedom and democracy faced with a more aggressive regime in moscow? a regime that is willing to contest our values and to -- used force to try to coerce other nations. this will have some long-term effects on our security on how we respond, on how nato is reacting, also how our relationship with russia can evolve. we do not have all of the answers today. there will be a new reality. it will be a new europe after the invasion we saw today.
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therefore, there will come a fact that we are so closely coordinating. closely working together in nato. we stood together in warning against the russian aggression, the plans. we stood together in reaching out trying to prevent the attack. now we need to stand together in responding to the attack. that is exactly what we are doing. that was the first question. second question? as part of this new reality, we have to look into. there will be a different reality and we need to respond. this is not the day to draw all of the solutions. we will have a important discussion on this tomorrow. >> thank you for the question. secretary-general, today ukraine has called on turkey to close.
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-- close the straits to russian vessels. has that an action that was discussed in this morning's meeting and either -- and are there similar actions that have been discussed? >> that was not discussed in the meeting today. turkey is of course a nato ally. they have a special role. but it is not a issue in the meeting. what we discussed was that they need to activate the defense. we made a decision to activate those plans, which enables to move versus quickly and to where they are needed. also, to have statements where we discussed very strong in the russian of -- the nation of ukraine. we also announced that we are going to have a nato summit, a virtual nato summit tomorrow. >> "wall street journal" thank
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you. could you talk about the activation of the defense plan? what exactly does this change? when was the last time this was done? thank you. >> these plans are plans developed over the years to make sure that we have plans in place to react to crisis like the crisis we are facing. they are defensive plans, they are prudent plans. they give our -- some more authorities within the guidance and frameworks to deploy forces where they deem is needed. that is exactly what we are doing today. these are our defense of plans, ensuring that we have -- defensive plans, ensuring that we have forces at the right place throughout europe.
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>> have they ever been activated before? >> i don't know if it is right for me to answer the questions. i don't know if it has been made public before. >> hello, associated press. is the nato response force insight ukraine, right now? >> know there are no nato combat troops at all inside of ukraine. we have made it clear we don't have any plans or intention of deploying nato troops to
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ukraine. what we have made clear is that we have increased and we are increasing the presence of the nato troops on the eastern part of the lines of nato territory. ukraine is a highly valued partner. we have supported them for many years. we have also trained and equipped to strengthen their armed forces. we do not have nato troops in ukraine. if we do not have any plans to send nato troops into ukraine. we are able to protect nato allies. we support ukraine. we provide absolute security guarantees for nato allies. we demonstrated that commitment by increasing nato troops.
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>> we will take a couple of questions before we go back to the press room. we will go to the new york times. >> thank you secretary-general. two quick questions. you still have military contacts -- do you still have military de-escalation contacts with russian forces today? are those ongoing? secondly, a lot of nato countries are going to want to keep supplying weapons to ukraine. do you foresee this is a major risk of a nato russia conflict? and where else do you see risk of conflict now between russia and nato countries that could still over into something worse? thank you.
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>> we have increased the presence and activated defense to make sure that we do not see any spillover into nato territory. because as long as russia knows that an attack on a nato ally will trigger response from the whole alliance, we are the strongest alliance in history. as long as we stand together and make sure we are committed by our collective defense commitments, that is the best way to prevent any attack. the nato allies have -- support to ukrainians over the different years. nato has helped them with the defenses. we have also helped them with trust funds and different activities. take -- on top of that, different measures to help them
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to sanction the naval forces and armed forces. on top of what nato has done, it has included defensive weapons and supported training. it will be a national decision in what way to continue to support, so that is for individual nato allies to provide. deconfliction is extremely important to us. there have been contacts between our military commanders and russia. we will continue to reach out to them to make sure we do everything we can to ensure deconfliction. >> yes.
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what is your message to countries like finland and sweden about the situation? we and finland, there's a discussion about possible nato membership, but is that realistic? thank you. >> finland and sweden are very close partners. i have taken note of the clear message both from finland and sweden, even though they don't apply for membership now, they strongly believe nato should not sign any kind of agreement with russia based on what russia has proposed for us, to sign a legally binding agreement ending any enlargement of nato in the future. so i feel that sweden and finland, for them this is a question of self-determination and the sovereign right, and
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potential he in the future, also to apply for nato membership. for me, the very clear message from finland and sweden is how -- has underpinned how important it is for nato allies to not compromise on core values, including the rights of every nation to choose its on path. meaning whether it belongs to nato, or not belong to nato. nato respects those decisions, regardless if it is yes or no to joining nato. we value close relationships with finland and sweden. it is important for nato and important for finland and sweden. we work with the north atlantic council and we see how closely we work together and increase our ability to operate together in probability and also close political consultations. therefore, i have invited sweden
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and finland to the virtual summit for nato tomorrow. so at the nato summit tomorrow, we will have sweden, finland, and the eu presidents present showing they are very strong unity. >> we will go to polish radio. >> if i may, a follow-up question two terry's question. when exactly these high regiment elements of the nato response force may be deployed? is it up to the leaders if you have the summit for tomorrow? thank you. >> first of all, we have already deployed thousands of troops. for instance, to poland, there are u.s. forces, there are forces from the united kingdom, there also nations deploying more forces to poland.
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also, other countries in the eastern part of the alliance. warships in the baltic sea. more planes conducting air policing and conducting -- protecting airspace. there will be more forces in the east of the alliance over the next days and weeks. that should include elements of the nato response force, but the most important thing is not exactly which elements, or which forces, but the most important thing for poland and for the other allies, is that there are more nato forces in the east. there was, even will be more nato forces in the coming days and weeks. >> thank you for the question. from norway. secretary-general, you have
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received very good intelligence in recent weeks. you have shared it, you have been open about it. do you have any information of the russian plans ahead? >> our intelligence has predicted over several months, the missile buildup. also the intentions and plans for russia to attack ukraine. of course, those plans could also be changed. we continue to call on russia to change its course and not to attack. that is exactly what services have predicted over several months. we have shared that intelligence to mainly try to prevent russia from attacking. we are shared intelligence about all of the different attempts
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by russia to create a pretext, staged situations that they could use as an excuse. false claims against russians. the absolutely claims. or the alleged sabotage actions in inside russian soil. it is staged. we exposed those defense because we hope that could reduce the risk of military invasion. we have seen that they speak to their plans. they have done what they actually planned for a long time
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ago. we need to understand that within all of these weeks and months when they said they had no plans invading ukraine, they had plans. there were not only having plans, but they actually built up all of these forces with one clear aim, that was to invade ukraine. despite telling us, the world, and the public we have no plans to invade ukraine. yes, they have plans. now we are seeing they were serious about invading ukraine all the time. never serious about really engaging in diplomatic efforts. what we are seeing now is a full-fledged invasion of ukraine from multiple directions. we see air land, naval forces taking part in those attacks. it is true we don't have a full damage assessment yet, but this is extremely serious. it is an attack on the peaceful, sovereign independent nation. it is a war of a time in a scale we actually thought was part of
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history in europe, but now it is back and imposing enormous suffering on the innocent people in ukraine. >> thank you very much. this concludes this press conference. >> thank you. >> and we are standing by to bring you live coverage of today's white house briefing. it's been pushed back a bit, now scheduled to start at 5:30 eastern time. in the meantime, we will bring you remarks from earlier today from president biden.


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