US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the suffering in Ukraine could end immediately if Russia ends “its reckless war of choice,” ahead of a meeting with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels on Thursday.
Austin said the meeting comes at a “critical juncture in the history” of the security alliance.
“We see that as Finland and Sweden have made the historic decision to seek NATO membership. We welcome that. They are proud, capable democracies who share NATO’s core values,” he said.
“In recent months, NATO has united in the face of Russia’s unjustified, cruel, and indefensible invasion of Ukraine. We’ll continue to strengthen our allies to meet the greatest threat to European security in decades.”
Austin said NATO will continue to support Ukraine “as it defends itself against Russia’s unprovoked aggression” and “continue to adapt our alliance to meet evolving security conditions.”